Healthy, well-timed, multi-cycle sleep offers us a plethora of regenerative and healing benefits that despite the knowledge base we’ve established over the last few decades on how crucial it is, shows us how little we truly know about what sleep is capable of.
Recent world events may have likely caught you feeling stressed, anxious and unable to fully rest. These outcomes may even just be a mere reflection of the turmoil we’ve all been keeping quietly tucked in, that’s found a way to bubble up and out, manifesting in troubled sleep when the mind is finally able to be free from the demands of the day.
In our world that's full of apparent toxicity: whether it's in the pesticide-grown food we eat, in our distractions that offer us little relief from the barrage of news, or from the constant stream of emails and updates that we are bombarded with through our multiple devices, sleep offers us an enormous opportunity for regenerative health.
It's been argued that sleep requirements are unique to every individual, with some needing more, and others needing less than the suggested 8-9 hours of restful slumber. Some insist that there’s simply too much to do, so much to tick off of our never-ending to-do list, and scoffing at the recommendation.
What would you feel if sleep were the answer to accomplishing all those, and accomplishing them well? With the world seeming to call us to take this opportunity to slow down, reassess and reevaluate how we’ve been spending our days, it may be high time we include reflecting on how we’ve been spending our nights too.
As we start to think about our lifestyle, apart from just pushing for that diet, or that fast, or the strict exercise regimen, take the time to pause and think about how you’re putting your body in that state of regenerative capacity between 9pm and 5am, that ultimately gives your body the opportunity to thrive during the daytime.
Much of what we’ve subjected our bodies to during the day is processed and detoxified during the night, and suggested sleep times are historically based on our bodies circadian rhythm that has dictated this detoxification schedule.
One such way to begin the detoxification process is removal of all forms of electronic interference, specifically coming from our devices. Since our circadian rhythm follows the movement of the sun, light interference from our phones, tablets, and laptops, all contribute to light interference which our bodies should be free of once the sun goes down in order to begin the natural secretion of melatonin to signal to our bodies that it is time to go to bed.
Alongside this, we should include removal of wifi devices, Bluetooth routers, charges, and any other device that could emit even the slightest radiowave, from the bedroom. In this practice we learn, surprisingly, that sleep health begins with sleep hygiene, and that it begins way before our heads hit the pillow.
An increasing number of studies on sleep health have shown the effects of radiation emitted by our devices on the quality of our sleep. Removal of these distraction also limits our temptation to look at our half-finished emails and reports, that apart from exposing us to light in the middle of the night, albeit briefly, instantly alters the sleep hormones that keeps our body in our relaxed sleep-state.
Ideally, if you are truly sleeping well, you should not be waking up in the middle of the night, and doing so, even if just to empty your bladder is already a sign that your sleep pattern has been disrupted.
With quarantine in place, it may be helpful to suggest playing around with this practice of removing all devices by 7pm in order to prep your body to get ready for sleep. Observe how your sleep quality changes, and with it, your overall mood.
Stay tuned as we expand our knowledge base into the regenerative capacity of sleep in our following articles!