When was the last time you really had a good sleep? Deep and uninterrupted and woke up feeling really rested? Our bodies have a great need for good sleep. It is the time when our brains consolidate the day’s activities, form memories and sort out all the junk. A bit like putting a computer into sleep mode, the green light is still blinking and it is not shut down, it is just waiting for the next command. Our bodies need to rest in order to function properly, but mainly it is our brains that need to refresh and repair to get ready for the next day.
For a lot of people this is a lost art and it takes its toll on our relationships, work, and play as well as our body’s ability to turn over new cells and keep disease at bay.
As parents, we can seem to go for years without proper sleep, getting up multiple times in the night, never feeling as if we are quite functioning on all cylinders. It is really hard to cope when you continually feel tired. Don’t try to be perfect and allow yourself some ME-time when you can.
Our bodies have a natural Circadian rhythm that allows us to be awake and functioning during daylight hours and sleepy towards bedtime. Of course, very few of us get up when it starts to become light and go to bed when it gets dark, and lots of places in the world this would not be entirely practical. However, your body innately knows when it is tired and needs sleep but often we don’t allow or encourage this natural rhythm. Blue light from LEDs is one of the biggest causes of disruption to the Melatonin production in the evening, and the use of electronic devices, especially at the end of the day, can severely upset our sleep quality and quantity. This is particularly a problem for teenagers, who are undergoing dramatic changes in their bodies and really need good-quality sleep in order to function well during the day.
It is a great idea to have a sleep preparation plan to implement during the evening to encourage good sleep. Ideally, you want to reduce lighting, especially from LED’s and other blue or strong light sources, at least a couple of hours before bed. Turn off overhead lights and bring in some mood lighting , resist using computers or any type of screen, switch them off and put them out of sight. If you have the TV on, are you really watching, or is it just background noise? Listen to some quiet music, have a bath or a shower, read a book ( as in paper print) or, if you are really wound up, practice some meditation before bed. All of these actions tell you body that it is getting near to bed time and allows for the production of Melatonin which will naturally induce sleep. It can be so hard to turn the noisy brain off at bedtime if you have not allowed it time to prepare for sleep and rather like a new puppy, or a baby, you can have a routine that induces sleepiness.