“Sleep is as important to our well-being as a healthy diet and exercise“–Paul Ebeling
Inadequate sleep can also induce or make feelings of anxiety and stress seem worse.
Sleep expert Dr. Peter Martone says, “Whether we like it or not, our health is a product of our daily rituals,” he says, adding that good sleep habits will lead to a better night’s sleep and improved mental and physical health.
Dr. Martone is the founder of Atlantis Wellness, and he says that texting, computer work, and gaming have put Americans at risk for degenerative disc disease, but proper sleep positioning can offset this damage.
He says, “Sleep is an art, and it takes time to master. The most common cause of my patient’s chronic health problems is that they are sleep deprived.”
Below are his his tips, as follows:
- Sleep Position. Side sleepers have the most troublesome sleep, says the expert. “To get a good night’s sleep and prevent tossing and turning adopt the Neutral Sleep Position,” he says. A Neutral Sleeping Position is a position where your body weight is distributed over the greatest surface area of your bed putting your joints in a neural non-stressed position. That means sleeping on your back with a pillow under your neck with your arms down by your side. If you commit to adopting a Neutral Sleeping Position, you will be able to reverse the damaging effects that our modern-day lifestyle has on your spine and posture. You will be able to correct your posture while you sleep.
- Core Body Temperature. Your core body temperature plays a critical role in getting you to sleep quickly and into a good deep sleep as well It is important for your body temperature to drop two degrees to be able to get a good quality sleep. You should sleep at a room temperature of 68 to 70F degrees. Keep your torso warm under a comforter, but let your hands and feet be exposed. Do not eat late at night because this will raise your body’s core temperature and avoid strenuous work with 2 hrs of going to bed.
- Sleep Timing. “My number one sleep hack should be simple, but it is very hard for people to get right due to their ever-changing life schedule,” says Dr. Martone. “Do not schedule your sleep around your life but schedule your life around your sleep. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every night, without an alarm clock, is the best way to ensure your body gets great quality of sleep.” He recommends going to bed as soon as possible when then Sun goes down and awakening with Sunrise.
- Hours of sleep. The amount of sleep we require depends both on your age and tends to differ in medical literature. Most experts agree that the younger we are, the more sleep we need, and the older we are, the less sleep we need. Also, the faster your metabolism, the more sleep you need, and the slower your metabolism, the less sleep you need. “Imagine that your body is a smart phone,” says the expert. “The open apps that are running on your phone are like your metabolism and recharging your phone’s battery is like sleep. The more apps that you have running, the quicker you drain your battery, which will in turn require more time to recharge.” The same is true for your body, Dr. Martone explains. The healthier and more active you are, speeding up your metabolism, the more sleep you will need.
- Shutting off your brain. You cannot think yourself to sleep, instead, you must remember yourself to sleep. “Your sleep and memory centers are both located in the back part of your brain, and the part of your brain that handles thought is in the front of your brain,” he explains. “The trick is to stop thinking and start remembering to get to sleep.” To do so, recall a happy, calming, and peaceful time. Think about, feel and experience everything in that memory. It should not stimulate, but calm you like a walk in the park while you smell the flowers, Dr. Martone suggests.
- Turn off the smart phone and TV.
“From one person to another, I too have nights where it is difficult to sleep”, says editorial contributor Bruce WD Barren to LTN. And, pills are not the answer either for most doctors will will tell you that they will become a wasteful addition/dependence.
“Remember the bedtime stories that our parents used to tell us, as children, to help us clear our minds to get to sleep; those over the moon or make-up mysterious stories?”
They were right for “Sleep is critical for good health and well-being. However, due to our busy lifestyles, millions of us do not get enough sleep—a problem that can lead to lack of attention, irritability, digestive issues, poor judgement, and drowsiness during the day.
“Sleep deficiency has also been linked to more serious physical health issues, including diabetes, high blood pressure, immune deficiencies, increased risk of heart disease, depression, suicide, and risk-taking behaviors.
“Therefore, getting good, restful sleep can improve both physical and mental health, enhance our quality of life, help us learn more efficiently, and enable us to lead safe and responsible lives.
“So, here’s a couple of more suggestions, start with this, with your breath, you have a ready-made tool to relax your body and slow down the thoughts that keep you awake.
“Try this: Place a hand on your heart and feel its rhythm. Breathe in deep for 4 seconds, then take a long, slow breath out. Repeat this pattern until you can feel your heartbeat slow down.
“Here is another tip: there will be some nights when your brain is buzzing and not ready for sleep. If so, don’t lie down just yet. Your racing thoughts could lead to insomnia. Instead, do something to relax until you feel tired. Take a warm bath, for instance, or sit in a comfy chair and listen to soft, calming music. You will spend less time in bed but more time asleep.
“Stressful subjects, like work or your finances, can make your thoughts churn. Take care of the bills and e-mails tomorrow. Also, turn off scary or action-filled movies and TV — even the news. Log out of social media, too. Whether you engage in, or just watch or read a heated back-and-forth, your mind revs up and makes it harder to relax.
How about this? Work projects to finish, calls to make, kids to wrangle. It’s hard to drift off when you’re trying to remember every last thing you need to do when you wake up. Let go of this mental load by putting it down on paper. Take 5 minutes before bed to jot down every task you need to take care of in the a.m. You will get it off your mind and be able to fall asleep faster.”
Have a healthy weekend, get some good rest and Keep the Faith!