for when she wakes
she will move mountains.
Let her sleep,
for when she wakes
she will shake the world.
Sleep is something I have studied, read, and practiced a lot of. I mean it is something we must do on the daily, why not give it a little love and attention? And let me tell you there is some cool stuff out there on the topic.
I feel a big take-away of my living primitively in a shed, was my adventures into the world of quality sleep. Racking up hours of slumber in the winter, the dark, quiet world of my shed provided a nearly perfect environment for sleep. Why? Why do I rave about sleep so much? When people ask about health, I always pop it in. The body is a complex system. It’s an intricate system of checks and balances. Health to me is super dynamic. There are a whole lot of variables to consider when something is out of whack in your body, it is never just one thing. Sleep, stress, eating habits, exercise, and more. They all effect us.
HORMONES. Hormones are key players in your health.They dictate a lot and hormone issues are on the rise. My sister for instance has issues with her thyroid and has Addison’s disease, both effected by hormones. Sleep is vital to hormone health. They’re restored at night. And skimping on a good night sleep could effect us in so many ways. For instance, it can even effect our hunger levels. That’s right, things like ghrelin are restored to glory at night. Ghrelin plays a role in satiety, hunger, and energy distribution. This is just one small for instance.
I think one of the most interesting health books I have read was about the correlation between light and sleep. In a nut shell it was saying many of our health issues and weight gain are due to light. We live in a perpetual summer. Light is always available to us. Heating and cooling keep us nice and comfortable. Once upon a time summers were when we bulked up. Food and forage were plentiful. The sunlight hours longer. We spent summers eating and partying. Preparing ourselves for winter and times of scarcity, plus longer hours of darkness and more time for sleep. To me it makes since.
Circadian rhythm. If we follow circadian rhythm we should sleep more in the winter and less in the summer. Circadian rhythm is what I practiced in my shed. Your body knows what it’s doing and it has its own internal clock. Darkness starts settling in. Melatonin should begin to release, making us feel sleepy. Preparing us for a nights rest. We sleep. Our hormones begin resetting. As the sun begins to come up, serotonin then begins to kick in. Our energy begins to return to us and we should wake up feeling refreshed and restored. Now this being said, how many of us follow a circadian rhythm? There are so many distractions nowadays and busyness has us constantly going.
Besides the hormones and following our natural cycle, why should we focus on sleep:
- Reduces stress
- Reduces inflammation
- More alert
- Better memory
- Weight Loss
- Better brain function
- Body repair and restoration
- Cell repair happens when we sleep
- Interesting tidbit I found is that you can die of sleep deprivation before you can die of food deprivation…..hmm
- Less sleep is correlated with more diseases like cancers and heart disease. To me this could be due to the increased risk of inflammation
- Take a nap if you’re not sleeping enough at night, it can increase alertness
Obviously sleep is essential to a healthy life, but just because something has been drilled into us, doesn’t mean we actually practice it. Like I said, sleep is something I give focus to. I make it a priority. It makes me feel better. I function better. I am a happier, more pleasant person to be around when I get adequate sleep. How? How can we ensure we get more/better sleep?
- As I said: MAKE IT A PRIORITY
- Earthing, I wrote about it a few weeks ago, but it can help (actually try taking a nap outside)
- Get in a routine. Set a bedtime and stick to it. Try getting into a circadian rhythm. If it’s getting dark outside, start thinking about lying down. Give special attention to the hours of 10 and 2, prime time in the world of sleep
- Light. We infiltrate our systems with light. Shut it out when you sleep. Back away from the t.v. screens, phones, and computer screens when you are thinking it’s about time to sleep. The blue light can effect your sleep. While you’re at it, pick up an alarm clock, let you phone sleep in another room. Sleep in a dark space. As I mentioned my shed rocked for sleeping because it was dark like a cave
- Take a bath before bed time
- Sip on some decaf sleepy time tea
- Get sunlight in the morning. Get out in that sunshine and get your serotonin really pumping
- Drink cherry juice
- Careful on the alcohol, it can effect sleep patterns
- Watch caffeine during the day. I for you cannot sleep if I have coffee later in the day, I keep my mugs reserved for the morning time
There you go. That’s should be a good start. Awareness though to me is always the first step towards change. Sleep tight!