Sleep – The Key to Our Well-Being
I had insomnia for 2 years and it was of course terrible! Every day I would fall asleep at 4 am and then came a point where I had to take special permission from the company I worked at to have a late start. Today, I sleep for 8 hours and it feels like I am a child again and something that I never land up missing in my morning gratitude is my baby sleep!
Whether we have insomnia or not, great sleep is essential for several reasons. I know some people take pride in being able to function on just 4 hours of sleep, but I am not too sure if any of the following things are happening adequately for them:
- Brain detoxification: It is proven that the lymph vessels in our brain eliminate toxins size of our brain annually. This requires 8 hours of sleep on a daily basis.
- Primes previous days memory: You would agree with me that when we get adequate sleep (right combination of deep sleep and REM), we feel super fresh and this is because the body primes previous days memories and prepares us for the next day
- Relaxes our nervous system: Our nervous system needs a break as well, and that happens when we sleep, so it can go into parasympathetic mode.
- Glowing skin: Our body repairs tissues at night, which is why when we sleep well, our skin just looks different! No amount of external treatment can make up for a glowing skin without good sleep.
- No extra weight gain: When we are tired from lack of sleep, we think we need food to function, so we land up overeating. We think we need energy but what we actually need is a good night’s sleep.
- No acidity issues: If you have acidity, you will notice the bout gets worse when sleep is compromised. It activates the symptoms making acidity worse!
Different articles might give different theories on this but either you go back to Ayurveda or even renowned functional doctors of today – each one emphasizes on the importance of good sleep. For me, it is my personal experience too! Post great sleep my energy levels, skin, clarity, digestion, weight, almost all parameters have improved!
So here some remedies to improve sleep (whether one has an issue or not, it’s a great set of routines to do):
- The night drink: My absolute favourite and almost a life saver (especially when my insomnia had hit the roof!) is my night drink! It is hot water with turmeric and black pepper (black pepper increases the absorption of turmeric powder). This drink will calm you and also helps to relax your whole body. Sip it while watching your show or enjoy it with chamomile tea as well. I swear by this one!
- Tea: Lavender tea and chamomile tea are two fabulous options to start calling it a day. They also sooth digestion and when digestion is better, our system needs to work less hard end of the day. A cup of this, after dinner, is what I have.
- Essential oils: Essential oil has gained lots of traction off late and it does work! If you get great quality and use it with a diffuser each night, you will feel your nervous system relaxing. Essential oil is concentrated oil and therefore it is potent. Even when we switch it on in a room, it directly hits our senses, so the impact is powerful.
- Epsom salt: Let’s not deny ourselves a little fun watching our current favourite show but how about soaking your feet in epsom salt and hot water while doing it. Rich in minerals, Epsom salt heals soreness and relaxes the muscles.
- Ashwagandha: This superfood herb is become very popular off late and for the right reasons. It is an adaptogenic herb that reduces cortisol level and also knows to have wonders with anxiety and depression. At times, lots is going in life and we need to feel less stress, so this awesome herb helps with that.
- Breathing: A simple 4-7-8 breathing works. Deep breathe in 4 counts, hold 7 and release 8 counts. Just doing this around 10 times you will feel such relaxation and calmness. Thoughts will reduce and you will want to automatically unwind.
- Some rules: Switch off electronics and dim the lights an hour before your bedtime. It is proven to reduce melatonin and perturb our natural body rhythm. You can instead read a light book or just meditate or do some deep breathing. This is a self-care practice.
I always tell my clients; night routine is as powerful as morning routine. Without great sleep and relaxed body, no morning green juice is going to make us feel fresh.
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