Are you getting Top Quality Sleep?
By Dianne Park
Sometimes no matter how badly we want to get to sleep at night … it seems that we just can’t. And then if we do fall asleep, how many times do we find ourselves waking up in the middle of the night and not able to go back to sleep again?? What can we possibly do to get out of this pattern?
This wellness article is simply an introduction to a book called Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep & Dreams, by Matthew Walker.
The first sleep book by a leading scientific expert—Professor Matthew Walker, Director of UC Berkeley’s Sleep and Neuro-imaging Lab—reveals his groundbreaking exploration of sleep, explaining how we can harness its transformative power to change our lives for the better.
I heard Walker speak at length about his book and sleep issues, and he had some fascinating information to share.
What follows immediately below is simply part of a review found on Good Reads. So if you struggle with sleep, you might want to read on.
“An explosion of scientific discoveries in the last twenty years has shed new light on this fundamental aspect of our lives. Now, preeminent neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker gives us a new understanding of the vital importance of sleep and dreaming. Within the brain, sleep enriches our ability to learn, memorize, and make logical decisions. It recalibrates our emotions, restocks our immune system, fine-tunes our metabolism, and regulates our appetite. Dreaming mollifies painful memories and creates a virtual reality space in which the brain melds past and present knowledge to inspire creativity.
Walker answers important questions about sleep: how do caffeine and alcohol affect sleep? What really happens during REM sleep? Why do our sleep patterns change across a lifetime? How do common sleep aids affect us and can they do long-term damage? Charting cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs, and synthesizing decades of research and clinical practice, Walker explains how we can harness sleep to improve learning, mood, and energy levels; regulate hormones; prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes; slow the effects of aging; increase longevity; enhance the education and lifespan of our children, and boost the efficiency, success, and productivity of our businesses … Why We Sleep is a crucial and illuminating book.”
One take away from listening to his talk was his mention of an aura ring which he said tracks vital sleep patterns as well as exercise, diet and the amount of light we are exposed to during the day. Here is one link, but of course you will want to do your own research. https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/oura-ring-sleep-tracker/
And a checklist from the book from ShortForm (The World’s Best Book Summaries) enumerates these suggestions:
Checklist for improving your sleep:
- Set a sleep schedule: sleep and wake up at the same times every day. Don’t sleep procrastinate, and don’t think that you can just sleep in on weekends (it makes it harder to wake up Monday morning)
- Don’t use alarms if you can help it. Alarms cause a huge stress reaction on waking. And snoozing causes repeated stress traumas every morning.
- Wake up with the sun or use very bright lights. This sets your circadian rhythm.
- Avoid all caffeine and nicotine if possible. But if you have to have caffeine, avoid it in the afternoon, since it takes over 10 hours to wear off fully.
- Exercise regularly, but not within 3 hours of sleep.
- Don’t nap after 3PM – they make it harder to sleep at night.
- Don’t drink alcohol unless it is completely metabolized by sleep time (including the aldehydes produced).
- Avoid large meals and drinks late at night. Large meals can cause indigestion; too many fluids cause frequent urinations.
- Reduce light before sleep. Blue light is the most harmful, but even bedside lamps cause issues. Artificial light delays the circadian rhythm by…
Also from a couple of notes that I jotted down while listening to his talk, Dr Walker stated, “All major diseases are diminished by restorative sleep … and when we do not get good sleep, we are more susceptible to cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.” Those are some pretty major reasons to put effort into improving our sleep!
So adding to my previous rants about healthy eating, getting plenty of exercise, eliminating soda and processed foods, the other biggie to our health and to keep us staying healthy … is quality sleep. Wishing you restorative sleep and sweet dreams!
Dianne Park is an ALL NATURAL health nut who loves to help others get and stay healthy and to offer people natural health solutions. She is also a spirited motorcyclist, nature lover and bird watcher, loves yoga and working out, is focused on self growth and loves to read both fiction and non-fiction. She has high energy and tries to always look at the positive.