On average, it’s recommended that an adult should take 7-8 hours of sleep. Which means men spent 1/3 of their life time in the bed. 1/3 of our lifetime! This is certainly an important topic that deserves some attention.
Over and over, I’ve been told that sleep has many benefits, and it’s the fundamental to good health, having good mental stability, and healthy looking skin. I knew it, but I just couldn’t help staying up at night.
I’ve done a lot of research, and many ladies who looks younger than their actual age, shared that their secret is getting the adequate daily dosage of sleep, and they enter into their deep sleep before midnight.
Lately, I’ve been noticing that my grey hair is spurting here and there, my pores are more visible, and I have a swollen gum, all of which are attributed to sleep. I’ve also read study that shows the lack of sleep makes a person dumb. It makes you very stressed when you get up the next day, and hinders your work performance. OK. I am totally convinced now.. I should get more sleep daily.
I had this bad habit of going to sleep very late at night. Somehow during night time, I am more awake, active, and alert. I have this restlessness, that I want to do more before I go to bed. With the introduction of facebook, and its gaining in popularity, it becomes my ritual to look at facebook every night, before I go to bed. So as I lay myself down in the bed, my mind starts to wander, and hopping from one thought to another. I got so excited that I couldn’t calm down. Even if I did fall asleep, I would often wake up 3 to 4 AM, and took a bathroom break. When I return, I couldn’t fall back into sleep.
Three weeks ago, during the Thanksgiving holiday, one night, as usual, my heart was so restless, I stayed up the whole night, staring at the ceiling. It’s not until 8 AM in the morning, that I felt so tired, and I slept for 3 hours or so. Then for the next two to three days, canker sours started showing up in different parts of my mouth, my gum was swollen. That’s usually an alert to me that sickness is looming, and ready to attach any time. I knew a lot of this is caused by my lack of sleep, and my body is giving me these alarms that I should make adjustments to my life style somehow.
I looked at my work’s Redbrick Page, and the journeys for sleep to get some idea and tips. I searched online to see what are some of the recommendations for better sleep.
Tip 1: Set a Time for Bed
For workdays, I need to rises at 7:30. In order to get 8 hours of sleep, I should be in bed and asleep by 11:30. Which means I should go to bed by 11 PM.
Tip 2: Turn off the Screens and Wind Down
The Blue Rays emitted by the electronic devices gives the body a false message, but letting the body think it’s daylight, which hinders the body from producing melatonin. So I decided to turn off the screens when it hits 10. I will start to wind myself down, to get my mind ready for bed.
Tip 3: Write, then Sleep
There are things that worries us and keep us awake. Put a notebook by the bed, write down all the thoughts that are bothering you. Close up the notebook, and go to bed. There’s nothing you can do right now by worrying. Let’s track it, and go to bed.
Tip 4: Take Deep Breaths, and Meditate
Meditation is the method that helped me the most.
The key to meditation are:
- Taking deep breaths. Inhale for a few seconds, Exhale for a few seconds, preferably until the breath reaches the belly button area; Repeat. As you are breathing, scan your body following the path of the breath.
- When thoughts come and go, look at them as if they’ve got nothing to do to you. Do not react to those thoughts. Now this is really the game changers for me. I used to have a difficult time concentrating. I am easily “kidnapped” by my thoughts. I let them drag me / point me to whatever direction they led me. Without knowing I could say ‘no’ to such invitation, without wanting to say ‘no’, because I found those thoughts amusing.
There’s an app that’s called Headspace that can help you get started on Meditation. There are also plenty of tutorials on Youtube and online that you can find.
Every night before going to bed, I lay in bed, and starting the deep breathing, and meditation.
Tip 5: Install Sleeping App
I have installed Pillow on my iPhone, I used to use this to track my sleep, but have stopped doing so. Now as I am getting more serious about sleeping, I actually linked it to my iWatch, and track my sleep through the watch. The app tracks the four stages: Awake, REM, light sleep, deep sleep. You can set an alarm to wake you up. In the morning, the app will wake you up at an optimal time to help you feeling refreshed. It gives you a graphical summary of your sleep, your heart rate, and an overall score of the quality of your sleep.
What helps with this app is – it helps me set a goal. I make a determination to fall asleep, reach the number of hours of sleep, and hitting a high percentile.
I am very proud of myself, that as soon as I made a determination to have better sleep, I can do it through the help of meditation, concentrating on my breathing, clearing my mind and ignoring the wandering thoughts. I’ve also turned on the Pillow app every night as a tracker, a buddy, a game to get me going. I’ve started this practice since 11/23, and I was able to sleep soundly every night. I wished I have mastered this skill when I was in my teens, I think I would be so much more successful, have a clearer mind, and clearer skin if I were able to manage my thoughts, and get enough sleep.
I am very thankful for discovering the key to sound sleep.
Hopefully those people out there that have similar troubles with insomnia find this post helpful to them too.