Importance of sleep: How to make it dreamy

By Melanie Kiss

the importance of sleep - the yoga loft

Sometimes we forget the importance of sleep. In everyday life, our sleep can be affected in so many ways. Let’s take a look at the world of sleep and how to make it dreamy.  

Good quality sleep is essential to the body. It is a time where your body can rest, relax and rejuvenate. Sleep repairs and restores your body, giving it the capability of healing and recharging. 

Many simple things you didn’t even know about can affect your sleep. Here are some no no’s:

  • Intense physical activity prior to bed. It will boost your energy and keep you up. However, engaging in mild activity such as restorative or Yin yoga can really prove to be beneficial.
  • Drinking caffeine late in the afternoon and evening can disrupt your sleep even if it is decaffeinated.
  • Eating an hour before sleep might make you restless as your body is trying to digest. Leave a few hours between your last meal and your sleep.
  • Too many people in bed. Does your partner, child, dog and/or cat all snuggle with you?  Make sure you have enough space so you aren’t woken up by your sound asleep counterpart. 
  • Partying with lots of alcohol or intoxicants always affects your sleep. It might seem like you passed out and slept for a long time, but it is never quality sleep. Having a good quality beer or a glass of wine before may help you relax, but it may also wake you up in the middle of the night to go pee.
  • Eating cake, ice cream or anything with heavy sugar before sleep can also impair your snooze. 
  • Stimulation from artificial lighting. Laptops, cell phones and television can have a negative affect on your sleep. The light that is emitted from the screens can affect the melatonin that your body secretes naturally before bed. The entertainment from these devices can also cause a bit of concern right before bedtime as it might make you think too much. 
  • Plugs and devices around you. Emission of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) can also disrupt sleep. Check around you and see if unplugging cords and shutting down devices in your near vicinity makes a difference.
  • Stress. Easier said than done. Most people usually go to bed tired, climb into bed and ready to count their sheep. But all that they end up counting is the money they have or haven’t earned, the relationship that is or isn’t going well, etc. This is a big one. Stress. Using methods such as meditation, or deep breathing exercises can really help.

Most of us are so used to sleeping a certain way that we don’t realize the poor quality we are getting. After years and years of poor quality sleep, one’s health can be affected.

Here are some tips to help you sleep a little more soundly. But remember what may work for one may not work for another and sometimes, we need to do something a few times to get our bodies adjusted.

 

Tips:

  • Lavender essential oil. Dropping a few drops into a bath before sleep or on a tissue and placing it on your pillow can help with deep sleep.
  • Reading a book or magazine before sleep with a soft light helps you wind down and relax.
  • Herbal teas that help you relax and promote sleep (but it may also wake you up at night to go pee) like chamomile. 
  • Meditation. Done alone or doing a guided meditation with a softly spoken voice can help you to even fall asleep during meditation, which is just as good.
  • Deep breathing exercises help to bring you inwards, letting go of the mind. Sometimes all we need to do is detach from our stress and worries even for a few minutes to be able to let go and fall asleep.
  • Ensuring a quiet atmosphere is always helpful. You can also try listening to soft sounds from nature.
  • Eating a banana, almonds or tart cherries close to bedtime might help due to its melatonin, potassium and magnesium content.
  • Cracking the window a bit to get some airflow never does any harm. Sometimes, the AC or heat can get dry and a little breeze and fresh air can put you at ease.