As a society, I believe we undervalue sleep. We stay up late, get up early, and avoid naps even though our body is begging for rest. If only we had known as children how much our bodies would crave sleep as adults...
According to sleep.org, if it takes you an hour or more to fall asleep or if you wake up during the night unable to go back to sleep, you may be dealing with insomnia. On the other hand, if you fall asleep within five minutes of laying down, you may not be getting enough sleep. It should take 10-20 minutes to fall asleep.
During sleep, the body repairs, recovers, and detoxifies. Throughout the day, the body naturally becomes acidic. It relies on sleep to alkalize it for the next day. Remaining in an acidic state leads to inflammation and potential disease.
The pineal gland is responsible for secreting melatonin, the sleep hormone. Melatonin regulates the circadian rhythm as well as reproduction and it protects against free radicals.
The circadian rhythms are physical, behavioral, and mental changes that follow a daily pattern. These patterns respond to light and darkness. Melatonin production decreases with the morning light. Your body is told to wake up and get moving. As the sun begins to set, melatonin production begins and it peaks around 10 pm. This is why you begin to yawn and start feeling sleepy as the evening goes on.
Melatonin production can be interrupted by a variety of internal and external influences which can hinder our sleep. Worry, stress, noise from the TV, lights on in the house, drinking too many fluids before bed, stomach acid shooting up into the esophagus, etc.
Prescription medications can also be a problem. Below is a list of common medications that can hinder sleep. There are many more that also cause this problem so be sure to look at the side effects for any prescription medicines you take. You can find a lot of information at drugs.com.
Ideally, you want to sleep 7-9 hours every night. When our circadian rhythm gets out of balance, it is important to reset the clock. Here are some tips for doing so:
Go to sleep the same time every night
Wake up the same time every morning
If you sleep in on the weekends, sleep in one extra hour only
Go to bed when you feel sleepy; if you get your second-wind, you are using the energy needed for overnight healing as well as the energy that should be reserved for the next day
Avoid bright lights and electronics 30 minutes before bedtime
Be physically active throughout the day and wind down in the hours before bedtime
Not getting the sleep you need can cause:
Inability to pay attention
Inability to think clearly
Depression, suicide, and risk-taking behaviors
Disruption in thought patterns
Increased risk of obesity
Increased systemic (affecting all body systems) inflammation
Problems being able to learn
Problems in decision making and problem solving
Problems being able to control emotions and behavior
It to be harder to cope with change
The immune system to be altered
Problems in healing and repairing the heart and blood vessels
A natural remedy for bringing your circadian rhythm into balance and getting your sleep back on track is called grounding or earthing. A study published in the Journal of Inflammation Research concluded:
..."As this report explains, it is a system requiring occasional recharging by conductive contact with the Earth’s surface – the “battery” for all planetary life – to be optimally effective."
In other words, grounding works! In various studies, grounding has been shown to:
Affect the living matrix, which is the central connector between living cells
Have a positive effect on heart health
Reduce muscle damage and pain post-exercise
Reduce pain, stress, depression and fatigue