Studies have shown that insufficient sleep can lead to serious medical conditions and if you're not getting enough shut-eye, over time it can lead to a shortened lifespan! But if you ARE getting enough, there are a lot of health benefits from simply getting a good night's rest. I don't know about you but I really need and value my sleep. Even since my TBI (traumatic brain injury), my brain just needs more rest. Even though it's been 7+ years since it happened, I still function best after about 10 hours of quality sleep, not the frequently recommended 7-8 hours. Sleep has a massive impact on our health, TBI or not! And this easy meditation can help you get the sleep your body craves.
If you follow me on Instagram, I know I posted about Pilates yesterday and maybe made it sound like today's blog would be about that. It's not, so sorry if there's some confusion, but this is an extremely beneficial tool to have if you struggle with sleep. You know how you can be lying in bed, desperately wanting to fall asleep after your turn out the light, or you wake suddenly in the night for no reason and then can't get back to sleep? Your thoughts start going a mile a minute, you stress over stuff that you hadn't thought about all day, your thoughts go in circles, you get a knot in your stomach, you're restless, you toss and turn...
ME TOO. It used to happen to me a LOT. I knew that sleep was vital to my brain healing and overall health, so I'd get stressed out when I couldn't fall asleep. Which made sleeping even harder.
Until I started doing this.
When I started, I didn't even realize it was meditation. It just helped me go back to sleep. That's what matters, right? And these 5 things could help you sleep better, too:
• Shut off all mobile devices (smart phones, tablets, laptops) and the TV a half hour before you go to bed. Their use tends to rev up our brain for activity and the artificial light from these electronics has been shown to disrupt our natural sleep cycle. The blue light they emit in particular can interfere with the production of our sleep hormone, melatonin.
• Dim the household lights before you head off to bed. Just like using electronic devices, our household lights are also sources of artificial light and they can mess with the production of melatonin as well.
• Never sleep with your phone next to your bed! Text messages and notifications during the night can disrupt sleep, and a 2008 study showed that the radiation emitted from the phone makes it more difficult to sleep and can cause headaches.
• Make your bedroom an electronics-free zone. No TV, no mobile gadgets, no computers. I even moved our digital alarm clock to the office and got my husband and I analog, battery-powered alarm clocks with a much gentler alarm.
• Move your body. Exercise has been shown to improve the duration and quality of sleep! If you suffer from insomnia, it may take longer for your body to adjust and for the exercise to mute the body's stress response, but it does help.
Sleep can be affected (and helped) by many different things, so you will find what affects you most if you become more mindful of your nighttime routines. Read more about the dangers and effects technology can have on sleep here.
What about you? Have you noticed how any of these things affect your sleep, and do you notice a difference in how you feel and function depending on the amount and quality of the sleep you get? Are you struggling with getting a good night's sleep? Let me know in the comments below!
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