Many people are finding the demands of life in the 21st century affects their sleep and even their health. The long working day, shift work and even 24 access to entertainment mean that many people are not getting enough sleep or finding it difficult falling and staying asleep.
For some this is not a problem and they function well or are unaware of the long term affects that lack of sleep may have on their health and wellbeing. For others sleep may make them feel grumpy and disrupt their lives. For many, the experience of a good nights sleep is a blissful period of recuperation from their hectic lives.
Sleep is not a luxury but an essential part of everyone’s life. By taking positive steps to improve and maintain a good night’s sleep you are making a contribution to your mental and physical health that will leave you alert and better rested in order to face the day ahead.
How Much is Enough?
Age affects the amount of sleep that is required for good health. It is natural and accepted that children and teenagers change in their waking and sleeping habits from year to year. That early rising toddler soon develops into a late rising teenager!
Some of us may seem to thrive on little sleep and others may claim to be ‘useless’ without the standard eight hours. But whatever sleep preferences people have, the fact is we all need sleep and we benefit from being rested and alert when we have enough.
A Holistic Approach
Making the choice to improve sleep means taking a long term commitment to feeling good. It means recognising and adjusting areas of life that may be affecting sleep. These include;
Taking positive steps towards good health by doing sufficient exercise, maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding alcohol and caffeine
Adopting practices that are beneficial to health and relaxation such as yoga and meditation
Adapting the home and environment to aid sleep by creating a peaceful and soothing environment in the bedroom and home.
A holistic approach to improving sleep means more than taking care of the body and mind. It may mean making other choices such as trying to recognise areas in life that cause stress and anxiety. Although it is not possible to control what life has in store, acceptance is an important part of the philosophy of life that aims to create a balance between the individual and external influences.
A holistic approach to sleep means accepting life’s ups and downs and that worrying has few benefits. This does not mean disengaging from life or avoiding responsibility but trying to be more positive and actively working towards a natural balance.
Sleep is a natural part of life and should be savoured and appreciated. By adopting natural, beneficial practices that make sleep even more special it makes life richer and more fulfilling.
Although many people have their own preferences and approaches a holistic approach to sleep may include:
Using techniques such as massage and natural products to enhance a night time pre-sleep ritual
Making the bedroom harmonious and restful using feng shui and avoiding toxins
Experimenting with music, sounds and readings that may encourage a restful feeling
Finding herbal drinks that enhance sleep and avoiding stimulating foods before bedtime
Even those that make time and effort to improve and maintain their sleep may from time to time suffer from lack of sleep or other problems. A holistic approach to these can include using therapies such as Deep Relaxation, herbal therapies, yoga, massage, acupressure and hypnosis. These are often used along with more conventional treatments in agreement with a GP.
Few would disagree with the fact that a good night’s sleep is essential for a productive life and by making a few adjustments a restful night is in reach.