One of the most helpful practices is the use of progressive relaxation to deal with the stress at the end of the day. This will help reduce your desire to munch, wine or stair at the ceiling all night. This is not hard to learn and will be an enjoyable part of your sleep routine.
I first learned to do this in a test taking class in high school many moons ago. I later taught my children this as a way to relax. My daughter used it to fall asleep and to help her when her creativity has a momentary block. My son used it when his anger would get out of control. It help me survive their childhood with my sanity.
The first step is to get that comfortable spot. Some people sit up and some lie down. It is a personal preference. It always starts at your feet and tighten them as tight as you can and hold for 10 seconds then relax for 10 seconds. Move to your ankles and do the same thing flex for 10 seconds than relax for 10 seconds. Move up your legs to your bottom. That is a large muscle and will really help you to relax. Move up your abdomen and chest to your shoulders. Then you need to move down your arms. Always tighten for 10 then relax for 10. Finally you need to do your face than your scalp. That is where I start to do visualizations if I am going to.
Visualization is not my strong suit but I imagine a soft while glowing ball growing from the middle of my chest all the way out to my toes and fingers. I see the light heal any soreness and weakness I might have. It is my light so I can make it do what I want.
All of this take about 10-15 minutes and helps me feel very relaxed. It is a tool I am using frequency while I am working and going to school and raising children. It is a great tool for focus and does not require anything special except maybe some music. I have used Jeff Gold’s music to help with my exercise and to relax at night. He has a gift for the beauty that music can lend a relaxation technique.
We all deal with pain at some point in our life. However, when we are dealing with chronic pain the issue becomes compounded because it will interfere with our sleep. This can cause the issue to become compounded and for the pain to increase.
The first issue with pain is the inability to get into deeper sleeps. Pain will actually interfere with the slower brain waves causing sleep disruptions that we may not be aware of. This slower wave sleep, also known as Delta Sleep, is when our body releases hormones such as Human Growth Hormone. If we are unable to reach that level of sleep then our body does not have the ability to heal itself or can take significantly longer than we expect it to.
The second issue is that sleep deprivation increases our perception of pain. There is really not much to say on this issue other than you can see the vicious cycle this can create for someone learning to deal with chronic pain.
The third issue is the side effect of many of the medications people take for pain. It can change the ability to sleep, the stages of sleep a person is able to achieve and the level of fatigue a person feels throughout the day. Many medication can also cause insomnia.
The last issue is that when we deal with pain it will limit our activity., This will limit our need for sleep. It will also cause napping during the day that will again cause difficulty going to sleep at night. This daytime fatigue will also limit our time outside and our exposure to the sun. This lack of sun will causes decreases in vitamin D. It has been found that low levels of Vitamin D causes us to experience increased levels of pain.
All these issues combined together will continue to increase the pain and health issues a person is experiencing rather than healing. Taking the time to take a short walk, get some sun and working with your doctor to manage your sleep will help you to get better than much faster.
It is summer and we love to relax on the weekends. It is a great thing but keep in mind that a nap is good any day and time of the year if used correctly. You can appreciate those lazy days and that nap you can take to recharge yourself for the rest of the day or it could make you feel tired and draggy for the rest of the day.
You can use a nap to recharge your batteries. There are a few rules about how to best take a nap
1. A nap should be approximately 20 minutes long. This allows you to get rest and reboot your brain, moving short term memories to long term memories. It gives you bod that chance to get a little recovery time.
2. Listen to your body’s clock to decide when you are going to take your nap. Your body temperature drops during the afternoon around 3 pm. That is the perfect time to take your nap as it is what your body is programed to do.
3. Your nap should be in your bed with the lights, television and electronics off just like when you are going to bed.
4. Even if you do not think you are sleeping you may be. The lightest stage of sleep, called N1 sleep, still allows you to recharge.
5. If you have insomnia a nap is not your best choice. Napping when you have insomnia will just aggravate the problem.
The quick nap will recharge you so the second half of your day will be more energetic. It can allow you to reboot your brain and allow your body to recharge so you can achieve more.
There are so many myths about sleep and so many people who believe that the rules apply to everyone but them. The truth of the matter is that our bodies need so much sleep and they are designed to work with our environment. This includes the fact that it is light out during the day and dark at night. So here are five myths about sleep that everyone thinks do not apply to them and why you should not ignore them.
1. I do not need 7-8 hours of sleep. There are a small group of people who are short sleepers and trust me you probably are not one of them. Life everything 7-8 hours is an average. But our bodies need this much sleep so we can go through the different stages of sleep. If you do not get enough sleep you will not wake refreshed. During the first third of the night you will be in slow wave sleep which is where your body heals and grows. The last part of sleep is when you have your extended REM cycle, when you dream, this allows your brain to reboot. If you wake too early you miss out on the last REM or worse you will wake during it.
2. I need the television on to sleep. This one is so untrue it hurts. Television is actually designed to wake you up by using the flashing of light and dark. If you have a sleep disorder that causes you to wake during the night or that keeps you from maintaining sleep having the television on will keep you from returning to sleep. Again the light will stimulate you and keep you from going back to sleep. You do not need the television to go to sleep. You need a stronger sleep routine prior to going to bed so you can go to sleep faster. If you are waking during the night you should talk to your doctor because it may be a symptom of another issue that is not being treated.
3. If I stay up all night and cram for work, a test or anything I will do better. The truth is our minds move things from short term to long term memory when we sleep. So if you give up sleep you will not recall information as easily or as quickly. Also sleep deprivation causes issues such as poor memory recall and the inability to concentrate.
4. I can make up my missed sleep by sleeping in on the weekends or on weekdays. There is an element of truth to this but our body is not designed to constantly miss sleep and then make it up a week or two weeks later. Our body craves routine. This is why you should have the same bedtime every night. That does not mean you cannot go out once in a while but a routine of regular sleep is what will help you achieve optimal health.
5. Alcohol helps you to sleep better. Although a drink can help you to go to sleep faster over the night it will actually cause disruption of your sleep. Your body goes through a certain cycle of sleep and alcohol keeps the second half of the night from going the way it should. Instead you will have multiple awakenings and will not be able to go into dream stages properly. If you do drink you should stop three hours before going to bed so it will not affect your sleep.
Sleep is probably one of the easiest ways to help you be healthy. However if you do not take it seriously you can develop problems from sleep deprivation. Create your routine, go to bed at the same time each night and make sure you get enough sunlight in the morning and you will soon see that you will have more energy and a sharper mind.