March 13, 2015 was World Sleep Day which was set aside by the UN to pay tribute to sleep. Well, it is my hope that the world was once more been reminded of the importance of sleep to mankind in these days when the rule of the thumb is work, work and work until you drop dead.
No one can do without sleep. Everybody needs it, however to benefit from it an adult needs between 7-8 hours of sound sleep so, the issue is not all about lying down in bed and then waking up intermittently. Rather, having a sound, adequate sleep involves falling asleep without any distraction disrupting sleep. Yes, no breakage of REM, deep sleep at night to reap the benefits of sleep to man.
“Here are tips for adequate sleep. To start with, avoid stress. This is because stress destabilizes the body’s entire physiology including the production of melatonin, a hormone that aids sleep. Furthermore, stress or tension and nervous/muscular relaxation are at different, antagonistic polarity. Given this, one can understand easily why stress can cause sleep deprivation.
Secondly, alcohol, too much water intake and consuming watery food in the evening pre-disposes you to poor sleep at night. Afterall, you will wake up frequently to wee. You won’t have the opportunity to have smooth, uninterrupted sleep that is nourishing and healing.
Thirdly, the pang of hunger while asleep would keep you awake after being roused from sleep by it. Such hunger presents as low blood sugar. It is for this reason hypoglycemic persons with clinical symptoms of low blood sugar level often have poor sleep and suffer characteristically from weakness, lethargy, mental fogginess and fatigue.
Fourthly, watch it if you eat late, most especially after 7pm. You have introduced a “virus” into your life which would prevent you from having adequate sleep. The reason for this condition is simple. Bed time is a time of full rest when metabolism is supposed to be at a low tempo.
Hence, sleep time is traumatized by late food in the stomach requiring digestion when the body is at rest. And, so, two things happen. The late food keeps the body half-awake as it battles to digest the food. At the end of the day you have poor sleep throughout the night and suffer from indigestion which triggers off constipation. With time, a pathological cycle is introduced in your life. You eat late. This habit causes indigestion accompanied by constipation.
All of this trinity of dissonance gives you chronic sleep disorder no drug or physiotherapy on earth can remedy. “When you carry out lifestyle modification of your unhealthy habit you begin the journey to optimal life and healthy sleep.
Need I tell you that a noisy or stuffy environment, dirty beddings and a mosquito infested apartment would prevent you from a good sleep? But that is the truth.
At this juncture, let’s consider some factors that aids sleep. First of all, detoxification of the body can go a long way to improve your sleep or to restore sleep. Toxins in the body makes you not to sleep well at night.
Sex, too, is a sleep aid. Dr. Darren Russel of Australian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine says: “Sex helps people to sleep better and is less addictive than things like valium”. Also, other sexologists tell you that 30 minutes of rigorous sex translates to 15 minutes on the treadmill. Invariably, much, healing energy is expended during sex. Also relaxing, pain-relieving as well as feel-good hormones are released during sex which aid sleep. This is why couples fall and stay asleep soon after a fulfilling rigorous sexual experience.
Certain foods, equally, can aid sleep of interest here are foods like milk, banana and organic honey: milk contains calcium, melatonin and tryptophan. Calcium enables muscles to relax. Melatonin is a sleep hormone secreted by a gland in the head, while tryptophan, another sleep hormone, contributes to the synthesis of serotonin a hormone which also promotes feel-goodness and relaxation of the body required for sound sleep.
Put simply, milk improves sleep. Take a warm glass of it before bedtime or when you wake up from sleep at night. There is an implication here. It is that when you have work at hand to do, don’t drink warm milk. If you do, you will fall asleep at work or at best feel drowsy. Thus, your work output is compromised.
Similarly, honey promotes sleep because it contains tryptophan, a hormone that aids sleep. Drink a tablespoonful of warm honey on empty stomach before going to bed. Use half a glass of warm water to mix the honey. Not hot or boiling water. Also, you are advised to use organic, natural honey, only few people market such pure money. Avoid honey that is fake, substandard and adulterated.
Alternatively, you may add honey to an infused cup of herbal calmants or sedatives. Drink warm before bedtime.
One must not forget too that banana is not only a nutritious fruit but also a sleep aid. This is because banana contains tryptophan which helps in the synthesis of melatonin/serotonin two hormones that play a key role in sleep. In addition, banana has magnesium, calcium and potassium all of which contribute to body/muscular relaxation. When you eat two hands of bananas before bedtime on empty stomach, you are on your way to having a sound, adequate sleep. However, rinse out your mouth after eating the banana. Don’t go to bed with banana sugar in your mouth. It can cause dental caries.