There are some individuals who can lay their heads on their pillows and be asleep in two minutes. Other normal people require nearly half an hour. The average is about eight minutes. One common problem is that although sleep comes on promptly after a certain amount of time spent sleeping, the individual begins to enter lighter and lighter sleep until he enters a very superficial level of sleep, immediately becomes wide awake, and is now rested, cannot return to sleep. The other common type of sleep disorder is that the person dreads going to bed, as he knows he will be tossing and turning for an hour or two before sleep will come. There are special things that should be done for these two types of sleep disorders.
An often overlooked cause of insomnia is the use of stimulating beverages. All caffeine-containing drinks such as coffee, tea, colas, and chocolate should be avoided in the evening. The nervous system is pharmacologically stimulated by these drugs and can cause sleep to flee.
The Two Principle Types of Sleep Disorders
1. A short time of sleep at the start
For the person who goes to sleep promptly but cannot stay asleep for the full length of time needed for refreshment, several things may be helpful. The first thing is that upon awakening, instead of thinking about the trials of the day and the duties of tomorrow, the person should begin immediately to take deep breaths, making certain that the room is filled with fresh air. Sleep is a positive action of the mind, not an absence of mental activity. Often the person tries to lie entirely immobile, even rigidly motionless, becomes anxious about the anticipated sleeplessness, and is soon in no state to go back to sleep. One should not fear a bit of moving around; in fact, tensing and relaxing successive muscle groups beginning with the facial muscles and progressing to the neck and shoulders and so on, is a good way to go back to sleep.
Have at the bedside a cup of catnip tea which may be taken to give a little sedation. It is entirely innocuous and leaves no hangover. Catnip tea may also be taken in the evening to induce sleep soon after going to bed.
One should spend the time that one is awake contemplating the eternal virtues such as goodness, humility, love, patience, temperance, carefulness, caretaking, faithfulness to duty, and loyalty. There is a peace-giving quality to this category of thoughts. One should not waste one’s time on senseless thoughts such as counting sheep or picket fence slats.
2. When you cannot start to sleep
For the second kind of insomnia, the inability to get to sleep at night, among the best things that can be done is physical exercise during the day, at least one hour being spent out of doors in some kind of brisk labour or sports. A second thing is to avoid the taking of a heavy, late supper. It is best for everybody to eat only lightly in the evening, especially for the insomniac. If anything is taken it should be only whole grain bread or cereals, and simple fruit.
The third thing is to decide that even if one cannot sleep, it will not cause one to miss the benefits of rest, which, under proper circumstances of relaxation and mental peace, can result in good refreshment so that one can carry on his duties the following day. One should never take sleeping pills, as to do so merely borrows sleep from the future which must all be paid back with interest, and sometimes the bill comes due at a time when it is not at all convenient to make repayment. Each day’s sleep should be taken, for better or worse, within that 24 hours if possible. Sleep lost at night should be made up the following morning just before lunchtime if possible, but never in the afternoon as it may spoil evening sleep for the person who has a sleep problem.
Some important principles that affect our sleep
Generally one can expect that sleep before midnight is about twice as refreshing as sleep after midnight. The rhythmic pattern of hormones in the blood accounts for this preference for sleep before midnight. If one has a tendency to have difficulty sleeping the night through, it would be better to get sleep early in the evening, rather than staying up late, thinking that by doing so one will put one’s self in a more advantageous position.
“Regularity in all our habits, especially mealtimes and bedtimes”
It is essential to be regular in all of one’s habits, particularly in mealtimes and bedtimes. Take the meals at the same time daily, and go to bed at the same time each night. The habit of a regular bedtime from infancy to old age does more toward promoting good habits of sleep than any other thing. The modern lifestyle is characterized by an irregular bedtime pattern, contrary to the pattern of a century or more ago when everybody went to bed “with the chickens,” and life was much more regular.
If one has an evening ritual it will assist in the establishment of good sleep habits. No new activities should begin late in the day, as that tends to excite the nervous system and make one less able to concentrate on the activity of going to sleep. If every night is characterized by a certain pattern of evening activities ending with taking a bath, dressing, a period of evening meditation and prayer, turning out the lights, going to bed, assuming a comfortable position in a comfortable bed, being clothed in warm bed clothing, the evening ritual should assist greatly in the matter of drifting off to sleep. The earlier in life the habit is established, the better it is.
If one awakens in the middle of the night and cannot sleep, the neutral bath is often a lifesaver. Do not wait until a serious state of anxiety and boredom has developed before taking the neutral bath. If one does not drift back to sleep within ten minutes of awakening, slowly arise, draw a tub of water at neutral temperature (between 32C and 35C degrees), soak in the bath from 10 to 50 minutes, slowly arise from the bath, blot the skin dry with a soft towel (no brisk frictioning as in the morning, as it stimulates the skin), and return to bed, breathing easily and slowly. Be assured that this treatment will bring to you pleasant dreams.
“Healthy Lifestyle Matters in Prevention of Diseases”
For more information contact:
Silvia Rojas Reyes,
N.D., M.M.P., Health & Life Coach
(Lifestyle Medicine, Harvard)
Phone: 44- 756 24 25 749
“Healthy Lifestyle Matters in Prevention of Diseases” SRR
Amazing Natural Medicine