REST AND RELAXATION
Sleep restores us physically, mentally and emotionally. Sleep deprivation makes it more difficult to fight off illnesses, cause laps of concentration, memory and judgment; and result in a greater risk of experiencing anxiety and depression. Whether you are having problems sleeping as a result of not being able to fall asleep, you wake up too often or you don't feel well rested when you wake up in the morning, we have a few tips for you
1. Establish a fairly regular bedtime at night
Try to get to bed as early as possible. Our systems, particularly the adrenals,
do a majority of their recharging or recovering during the hours of 11PM and
1AM. In addition, your gallbladder dumps toxins during this same period. If
you are awake, the toxins back up into the liver which then secondarily back
up into your entire system and cause further disruption of your health. Prior
to the widespread use of electricity, people would go to bed shortly after sundown, as most animals do, and which nature intended for humans as well.
Don't Change Your Bedtime.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
Even on weekends when there is a tendency to sleep late try to wake up at the same time. This will train your body to get into a sleep rhythm and makes it easier for you to fall asleep and wake up in the mornings
2. Reduce or eliminate caffeinated beverages, especially after mid-day
A recent study showed that in some people, if caffeine is not metabolized the effects last long after consuming it. So an afternoon cup of coffee (or even tea) will keep some people from falling asleep. Also, some medications, particularly diet pills contain caffeine.
3. Avoid heavy late night eating
Eating before bed, especially grains and sugars will raise your blood sugar level and prevent sleep. Later in the night when blood sugar drops considerably, chances are you will wake up and not be able to fall back asleep.
4. Take a hot bath, shower or sauna before bed
When body temperature is raised in the late evening, it will fall at bedtime, facilitating sleep
5. Set The Alarm
I know it’s been said "Set the alarm “ but avoid turning up the volume too high. It is very stressful on the body to be awoken suddenly. If an alarm clock is absolutely necessary, keep it as far away from the bedroom as possible, preferably at least 3 feet. If you already have a regular bed time and you are getting enough sleep then you do not need an alarm clock. Remove the clock from view. It will only add to your worry when constantly staring at it... 2AM, 3AM... 4:30 AM...
6. Exercise in the daytime; avoid nighttime exercise
Doing this for at least 30 minutes every day helps you fall asleep easier. However if this is done too close to bed time it may keep you awake. Being overweight can increase the risk of sleep apnea, which will prevent a restful night’s sleep.
7. Avoid watching the TV just before bedtime
It is recommended that a TV not be in your bedroom. Its stimulating effect on the brain makes it hard to fall asleep
8. Do not study or read in bed
Bed is for sleeping. If you are used to watching TV or doing work in bed, you may find it harder to relax and to think of the bed as a place to sleep. Put your socks on your feet has the poorest circulation and as a result they get cold before the rest of your body.Studies have shown that by wearing socks you reduce the risk of waking up in the night.
9. Be aware that alcohol consumption may make you feel drowsy but it tends to give you a lousy sleep
People will often wake up several hours later, unable to fall back asleep. Alcohol will also keep you from falling into the deeper stages of sleep, where the body does most of its healing.
10. Read something spiritual or religious
This will help to relax. Don't read anything stimulating, such as a mystery or suspense novel, as this may have the opposite effect. In addition, if you are really enjoying a suspenseful book, you might wind up unintentionally reading for hours, instead of going to sleep
11. Don't drink any fluids within 2 hours of going to bed
This will reduce the likelihood of needing to get up and go to the bathroom or at least minimize the frequency.
12. Reduce or avoid as many drugs as possible
Many medications, both prescription and over the- counter may have effects on sleep. In most cases, the condition, which caused the drugs to be taken in the first place, can be addressed
13. Keeping a Journal
If you often lay in bed with your mind racing, it might be helpful keep a journal and write down your thoughts before bed.
14. Get to bed as early as possible
Check your bedroom for electro-magnetic fields (EMFs) These can disrupt the pineal gland and the production of melatonin and serotonin, and may have other negative effects as well. Dr. Herbert Ross, author of "Sleep Disorders recommends that people pull their circuit breaker before bed to kill all power in the house
15. Turn off all the lights and ensure that the room is as dark as possible
The slightest glimmer of light can disrupt your circadian rhythm and stops the production of melatonin and serotonin in the pineal gland. Dim the bathroom lights just in case you wake up in the middle of the night. Turning on the light in the bathroom stops the production of melatonin a very important sleep aid. If necessary get block out drapes to keep the light from coming in.
If you want to manage stress, recover between exercise sessions, maximize the health benefits of exercise and avoid burn out or fatigue then relaxation exercises are a great way to achieve this. We recommend a 20 minute routine at least twice per day. It is important that you focus on the different sensations when there is tension or contract and relax your muscles.
To get started line on your back. Please ensure that you are lying on a flat surface, with a pillow or a cushion under your knees. Try to relax your body as much as possible.
1. Point your feet forward, then point your toes downward until you sense tension in your arch and the top of your feet maintain that position for about five seconds then relax and repeat the routine.
2. Point your feet towards your face and focus on the tension in your feet and calves. Maintain that position for about five seconds then relax and repeat.
3. With your heels on the floor, push them against the floor as forcefully as you can until you feel the tension in the back of your thighs. Relax and repeat.
4. With both legs outstretched, contract your left thigh and gradually raise your left leg until you sense tension in the thigh hold for five seconds. Lower your leg to the floor then do the same with your right leg. Repeat the routine.
5. Raise your hips slightly above the floor and tighten the muscles in your buttocks. Maintain the tension for about five seconds. Relax repeat.
6. Contract your abdominal muscles. Maintain the contraction for five seconds. Relax and repeat
7. Contract the muscles of your stomach. Maintain the tension in your stomach as you lower your back to the floor. Relax and repeat.
8. Arms by your sides make a fist with both hands. Maintain the tension for five seconds. Relax and repeat.
9. Bend your elbows and bring both hands to your shoulders as you tighten your biceps. Maintain the tension then relax and repeat.
10. Arms flat on the floor with your palms up push your forearms against the floor until you sense the tension in your triceps. Maintain that position then relax and repeat.
11. Move your shoulders upwards, as high as possible and tighten the muscles until they are tense. Keep them in that position for five seconds then relax and repeat.
12. Slowly push your head backwards until you sense the tension in the back of your neck. Maintain the tension and position then relax and repeat.
13. Slowly move your head towards your chest and push towards your chest and push towards the front. Hold that position until tension is felt in your neck. Maintain the position then relax and repeat.
14. Open your mouth and stretch the muscles of your face as much as you can. Hold that position. Relax the muscles and repeat.
15. Close your eyes as tightly as possible and squeeze the muscles as much you can. Maintain the tension. Relax the muscles and open your eyes.
16. Tighten the muscles of your forehead and maintain the tension for five seconds. Relax and repeat.
Source: Dr. Kenneth Gardner (Fitness Club)