We spend 1/3 of our life in bed, sleeping. Many of us think sleep is belittled or a waste of time. Yet, it is the opposite. Sleeping is not empty time, but time of intense neurological activity. Once we sleep well, we could have better mood, metabolism, performance, memory and alertness. Let's practice sleep together, for the benefit of awakening.
How much time do I need to sleep?
New borns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours
Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
School-children (6-13): 9-11 hours
Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
Young adults (18-25): 7-9 hours
Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours
How can I sleep better?
Insomnia, light sleeper are very common in the 21st century. Again, sleeping quality directly related to our physical and mental health in long term. Start working on a quality sleep by the following tips:
1. Say 'NO' to sleeping pills
Without a doubt sleeping pills help you to fall asleep right away. However, not awake doesn't mean you are asleep. They limit restorative slow-wave sleep, increase risk of Alzheimer's by 32% for taking 3-6 months, and 84% for more than 6 months. Taking pills is more a crisis than a solution. Turn to book or meditation if you fail to fall asleep after 20 minutes. Try herbal teas like holy basil, lavender, valerian root. Or other natural healing way like acupuncture which are all very effective for sleep.
2. Get rid of the blue light
Eliminate all the electronic devices 30 minutes before bed, because blue light and waves suppress melatonin, increase anxiety and signal your brain your should turn on your awake mode. No Facebook, computer games, emailing or even a call before bed. Enjoy the personal moment, find a book to read, write a journal, or just lie down and start breathing. This 1/2 hour means a lot for the whole night.
3. Low carb dinner
Never go to bed on a full stomach or empty one. Heavy meal or fatty snacks at night causes discomfort and indigestion, affect your sleep, waistline and blood sugar level. Keep a low carbohydrate diet for dinner improve micro-biome which helps sleep. Avoid too salty, spicy, sugary or fatty food, have more greens and colourful vegetables to absorb calcium, magnesium and vitamin B6 which promote restful sleeps.
Science evidence shows people sleep significantly better if they exercise 150 minutes a week. Find the time and way you feel most comfortable with, and start building the happy sleep exercise habit. Mix with variations, combine yin and yang to keep your interest level up.
5. Write a Sleep diary
Before you go to bed, write a sleep diary by filling in the followings:
- what time and number of hours you sleep the day before (including naps)
- quality of sleep (scale of 1-10)
- energy level throughout the day
- time and amount of caffeine and alcohol intake
- level and amount of physical activity
- time, amount and type of food for dinner
- what did you do each night before bed
- what is the worries you experience before bed
Look into the patterns between your activities, food intake, sleep quality and quantity, help yourself to have a clearer picture on what the root cause is. Your body will tell you which part you should work on, be patient and listen.
6. Close the day with a single gratitude
Many people like to have self-reflection or task planning before bed. Try to leave all goal settings in the morning, and close your day with one single gratitude. Clear up your mind, don't judge yourself, whatever happens or you are still worrying, let it be. Just focus on this one single gratitude you have, be happy, feeling blessed and fall asleep.
During the process of orgasm, our body release 'prolactin', a love hormones which responsible for the feeling of relaxation and sleepiness. So next time when you have insomnia, do another kind of exercise on bed. Experience this in born magic cure with your partner or just help yourself is totally fine.
Susannah Mushatt Jones, the world's oldest person from Brooklyn, died at the age of 116. When she was asked about the secret of longevity in life, she said "I sleep".
Sometimes it is easier said than done, but remember, baby steps is the royal rule to live a life. Let's pamper ourselves with a good sleep tonight.