Sleep is a vital part in the rejuvenation of your body. It is our bodies’ organic method of repairing damaged tissue and worn ligaments. We spend countless hours in bed restlessly attempting to fall asleep. All these minutes accumulate to hours of sleeplessness every week that we could be harnessing to repair our bodies. There are some obvious answers for this problem, such as limiting the amount of caffeine intake we consume daily. There are different conducive steps to ensure a proper night’s sleep that few people tend to acknowledge and we are here to enlighten our readers about them.
It should be a common practice for you to condition your body to sleep right when you hit the pillow. Avoid watching television, reading or any activity that would keep you awake. The bed should be used solely for sleep. When you finally decide to go to bed the only thing on your mind should be sleeping. If need be, move your television out of your bedroom. This practice will take some time to adjust to, but it is entirely worth it.
There are certain parts of the brain that never sleep. These parts of the brain act as an alert system when aroused. This is beneficial for the body to alert a person to sound stimulus such as doorbells or fire alarms. If these parts of the brain are overstimulated then even the most minute of sounds may wake a person up; the threshold between lucidity and sleep lowers. This leads to people claiming to be “light” and “heavy” sleepers.
Get Into Position
There is actually a most ideal position for sleeping. If you are one to sleep in odd manners throughout the night it will not aid in the body’s healing process. It could also cause back problems and breathing complications. Here are the three sleeping positions ordered from best to worst for your body:
• Back sleeping – Neck pillow should support the curve of your neck with less support for the skull. Grab your pillow and roll up the bottom half to lend support to your neck when you lay down, although it may revert back to being flat once you move. If you have low back pain sleeping on your back, place a pillow or two right under your thighs. This will create a slight bend in the knees and a posterior pelvic tilt that will alleviate the jamming of the lumbar facets, which are a common pain generator when lying flat.
• Side Sleeping – The neck pillow should be similar to the one for sleeping on your back. This leads to more support for the spinal column and less for the head. Place a pillow or two between your knees to essentially make your legs parallel instead of the bottom one straight and the top one at an angle. This will help prevent both lower back pain and knee pain.
• Stomach sleeping – Use your head pillow as an ad hoc wedge so your turned head is pointing downward at an angle and not completely sideways. This will prevent a good deal of neck pain. A pillow under your pelvis will also create a posterior pelvic tilt to alleviate low back pain and separate the lumbar facets.
Stretching is a very good method to loosen up your muscles before bed. You want to be in the most relaxed state as possible and that means that your muscles should be the least tense as possible. Practice some light stretching next to your bed or even on your bed. Do not overexert yourself, for that may interfere with your sleep regiment. Some light stretching can go a long way to help relax yourself if it is time to go to bed.
The brain is a thing of habit. It gets used to going to sleep and waking up at the same time. It is quite important that you maintain a cognizant schedule of when you fall asleep. Many people who routinely wake up at the same time because of their occupation gradually find it easier to wake up. They may even wake up without the aid of an alarm clock. That is the brains functionality of time management.
There is a misconception going around about particular people’s sleep scheduling. If someone drops from a healthy 8 hours of sleep to an average of 4 hours of sleep they think their body has acclimated to this new schedule. They may feel sleepy or groggy for the first few weeks but then that feeling dissipates. The body has gotten used to the fatigue but the brain’s cognition is impacted. Studies have been made where they take two sample groups. One group received the healthy 8 hours of sleep a day, while the other group had been getting 4 hours of sleep a day. While the sample group have all claimed that they have gotten used to this new sleeping regiment, their performance was delayed profoundly. Their results showed that their ability to perform tasks was the same as that first week of sleep deprivation.
The same goes with oversleeping. Many people who have retired have been shown to oversleep several hours a day, yet feel even more tired than when they were employed. It is mostly based on their new, erratic sleep behavior. Once the body is out of synch with its old schedule it demonstrates symptoms attuned to jet-lag.
Fun Facts: Exploding Head Syndrome and Fan Death
If you were to research on your own about sleep cycles you may come across these odd topics. Exploding Head Syndrome is an actual scientific term, but the symptoms are much less severe than the ailment sounds. EHS happens at sleep onset, there is a loud bang in your head, similar to a door or window slamming. This is typically harmless, but it scares the patient out of sleep. There have since been medications to aid these patients.
Fan death is an urban legend originating in Korea. It is the belief that if one were to sleep an in enclosed room with a running electric fan they will die. No reported deaths related to this has emerged, yet it is still a widely believed myth, mainly in South Korea.