Getting a good sleep is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. When you sleep the body fixes itself, recharges, reboots and makes miracles happen while you rest. It’s essential for your brain, liver, gut and your ability to rest and repair. When you sleep you also clear the brain of stress.
Not getting enough sleep makes you more susceptible to overeating, and getting less than six hours sleep per night can lead to fat deposits in the belly and becoming overweight – regardless of exercise levels!
“Sleep affects your entire health profile, from weight, skin, energy, fertility, and longevity and disease risk,” says health researcher, educator and best-selling author Jason Shon Bennett. “Every 90 minutes of sleep you miss, you generally eat around 500 calories more.” People getting a good night’s sleep are also 550 per cent less likely to contract a virus.
Here are Shon Bennett’s 20 Steps to Sleeping Well extracted from his book My 20 Golden Rules: Your Guide to Exceptional Health
- Learn to relax. Deal with worry and stress with meditation, stretching or emotional development work.
- Ensure you have a dark enough room You may need new curtains to achieve this.
- Set regular basic bedtimes and wake times like 10pm to 6am or 9pm to 5am are perfect. Stick to these times all week, not just during the working week.
- Use herbal treatments where required including chamomile, valerian, hops, passion flower, lemon balm, Californian poppy and skullcap, taken under the guidance and support of a trained herbalist or naturopath.
- No caffeine, high sugar or spicy food three to four hours before bed.
- Eat a plant-based wholefood diet, which is rich in natural tryptophan.
- Remove the television and computer from the bedroom.
- Read in another room before getting into bed.
- On waking, exercise for at least an hour if you can
- Make sure your bedroom is comfortable, clear, cool and well ventilated and your mattress is firm, your pillow the right size and you have clean, fresh sheets.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol may make you fall asleep but it also causes you to wake a few hours later. A cup of caffeine-free herbal tea can be more soothing and less disruptive.
- No mobile phone use in bed
- Begin a relaxing and regular bedtime routine (stretch, slow down, dim the lights and so on).
- Use natural melatonin or other natural supplements taken under the guidance of a trained naturopath or doctor.
- Start to think of bed for sleep or sex and nothing else.
- Use a sleep-diary to check how many hours you are sleeping.
- Avoid excessive brain stimulation and hype before bed.
- Get regular massages to reduce muscle tension if you have back or neck problems.
- Stop eating two to three hours before bed; digestion competes with sleeping.
- The sleep impulse comes in 20 minute cycles. If you cannot sleep, read for a while.