Healing Power of Sleep
By Jessica Leigh Ehrlich
In the dedication of her book The Sleep Revolution, Arianna Huffington says, “For all those who are sick and tired of being sick and tired,” which is an intriguing way to start a book analyzing the value of sleep in a world that is exhausted. She starts by telling her readers that we have a sleep crisis in our world. She, along with many other authors, shares definitive and anecdotal evidence of people who are losing jobs, marriages, relationships, mental, and physical health and we are actually dying because of lack of sleep. She has a sleep-quality questionnaire that will reveal how well you sleep and she offers possible solutions if going to sleep is a nightmare for you.
Why can’t we get a good night’s sleep?
- Poor eating habits
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Sleep disorders
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Tobacco use
- Too much technology
How can we get a good night’s sleep?
- Exercise regularly
- Eat healthy foods
- Sleep on a good mattress
- Stop eating several hours before sleeping
- Avoid food that causes heartburn
- Limit alcohol and caffeine
- Eliminate chewing tobacco and smoking
- Some people say avoid napping. Others say take short naps (less than 20 min).
- Develop a regular sleep pattern
- Establish consistent bedtime, even on weekends
- Establish a bedtime routine
- Take a hot bath with Epsom salts
- Prepare the environment-eliminate noise, light. Keep the temperature cool
- Hide the clock (it may be distracting)
- Stop using all electronic devices a few hours before going to sleep
- Turn off sounds and notifications on all electronic devices
- Stop working several hours before you go to sleep
- Drink chamomile tea
- Develop relaxation techniques
- Practice yawning
- Listen to soft relaxing music
- If you wake up at night, do NOT look at devices or work
- If you cannot go back to sleep, try deep breathing, stretching, close your eyes and “imagine” you are going to sleep
- Consider taking magnesium before bedtime. It helps ease anxiety and assists with relaxation.
Consider looking at the following sites/apps:
- Calm.com – Meditation and Mindfulness tips
- Herohealthroom.org – free information on guided meditation http://herohealthroom.com/2014/12/08/free-guided-meditation-resources/
- Sleepfoundation.org- National Sleep Foundation has tools and tips
- Sleepapnia.org – information about diagnosis and treatment of sleep issues
- Web.Stanford.edu – Link from Stanford University for resources https://web.stanford.edu/~dement/sleeplinks.html
Epstein, Lawrence J. A Good Night’s Sleep. McGraw Hill, 2007
Hauri, Peter and Linde, Shirley. No More Sleepless Nights. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1990
Huffington, Arianna. The Sleep Revolution. 1st Edition, Penguin Random House, 2016
Lavery, Sheila. The Healing Power of Sleep How to Achieve Restorative Sleep Naturally. Simon and Schuster, 1997
McKenna, Paul. I Can Make You Sleep. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. 2007
Weissbluth, Marc. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Ballantine Books, 2015
Jessica Leigh Ehrlich is a personal trainer from Austin, TX. With over two decades in the industry, she has used her passion for wellness to teach hundreds of people fitness, nutrition, yoga, and pilates. You can catch her meal plans, wellness tips, and daily shenanigans on Instagram @jessicaleighe.