Finding Great Sleep Naturally
Sleep is an integral part of everyday life.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, ongoing sleep deficiency is connected to an increased risk of kidney disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. In addition to personal health, sleep deficiency leads to an impact on your productivity and the health and safety of others. In fact, it is estimated that 100,000 car accidents and 1,500 deaths a year are a result of sleepiness. Despite the overwhelming evidence that sleep is essential to our health and performance, our cultural influencers often sell sleep as a nuisance and a drain on productivity.
In recent years many alternative sleep cycle articles have begun recommending reducing if not eliminating sleep altogether. These sites range from small sites with obscure blog posts to large institutional organizations making recommendations on how to improve work productivity. One particularly draconian site suggests graduating between ever more stringent sleep deprivation techniques ultimately leading to 20 minute "naps" every 4 hours. The site rages against sleep with this image:
Our spiral away from embracing natural sleep habits is certainly driven by the evolution of our modern society. Technology has driven work into the home in ways we could not have conceived of just 20 years ago. Our phones have become an extension of ourselves. For many, the first thing we seek to look at each day is our phone. In addition to our cell phone, TV's have become progressively larger and have been moved into more rooms in our house than ever before. These temptations naturally lead to more bad habits that have further impacted how we approach getting a proper night's rest.
Instead of taking time to complete a relaxing nighttime routine we focus on the latest gossip news, write emails, scroll through Facebook, or scroll through random videos. The impact of technology is compounded by increased exposure to unnatural light close to bedtime, which impacts our circadian rhythms and quality of sleep cycles we experience throughout the night. In fact, a recent study showed that melatonin levels can be reduced by more than 50% due to unnatural light exposure. There is no question that our sleep has been dramatically impacted by modern society.
This social influence from popular technology products has impacted how we consume sleep related goods as well. Sleep has been developed into a stigma more than it should be, and it is the responsibility of sleep experts to better educate consumers on the importance and impact of exceptional sleep on their lives and health.
Here are a few quick tips to help renew your quality of sleep:
- Light Exposure: Reduce light exposure, turn off your TV and stop using your cell phone about an hour before bed. When you wake up, take time to fully orient yourself before picking up your phone. Studies show that increased light exposure prior to sleep impacts our production of melatonin, which is a key sleep inducing hormone.
- Eating Habits: Try not to eat a full 2 hours before bed. Eating habits can disturb your sleep cycles, cause heartburn, and can even cause you to experience weight gain.
- Nighttime Ritual: Schedule a set pattern to cycle down for the evening and prepare for bed. This can be as simple as taking a shower or bath, using a relaxing lotion or soap, or doing a breathing or meditation exercise.
There are many other powerful techniques and products that can impact your quality of sleep. It's time that we embrace the impact of sleep, and seek to find natural ways to improve our health.
We started Sleep Galleria to make it easy for anyone to experience exceptional sleep. All of our relaxation and sleep related products are designed to help you be your best self. Learn more at SLEEPGALLERIA.COM
This blog should not serve as a replacement for a physician, and is strictly the opinions of its author.