Wishing you all a special valentines weekend of Luff and a happy new year 2022. A happy year equals a healthy sleep and how better than to start the year by giving yourself that important gift.
Luff is quite literally a bed of clouds ☁️
Having a good quality sleep provides us with an endless number of health benefits.
To many whom are deprived of it, due to their lifestyle or schedule then sleep is a luxury. Sleep is actually one of the bare necessities of human survival and you may not know this, but it is as fundamentally important as all other basic physiological human needs such as healthy food and water, exercising, breathing healthy air, having shelter and of course following on from that our general overall well-being. All the above needs must be addressed and met before we move on to the next lower level of human fulfillment which are the emotional and psychological needs. This next level includes a number of needs these are; safety, love and belonging, esteem, self actualisation. I will elaborate on all of these later, but for now have you had enough sleep? Probably not as much or as good a quality as you should be having am I right?
Do you currently luff your bed or not really? If not it’s most likely because your bed is not as welcoming and comfortable enough for you and therefore cannot be a luff bed of clouds ☁️ Let’s touch on the topic a bit more.
So how much sleep should we adults be having? Well on average 7-8 hours is a healthy amount of sleep. We spend about one third of our lifetime sleeping, and so therefore shouldn’t we value that quality time? Yes, of course we should because good quality sleep is just as important as getting enough sleep, so that we continue to feel great after we have woken up and that is the key difference . 🔑
So the real question is how do we manage to get a good quality sleep?
If you made it this far through the blog then you are already half way there, so don’t give up and keep reading. The good news is that you can achieve a good quality sleep by making just a few key changes to your daily lifestyle routine.
Have you heard of the body’s circadian rhythm?
Some of you may know it as our body clock.
Well actually there are four biological clocks in the body which control different things. Here’s an analogy that I came up with, you could see it as having a live musical band inside our body and the conductor being the clock though obviously not an actual physical one as they don’t play musical songs, but they do orchestrate all of our organs and keep the bodies rhythm in perfect harmony.
There is however one master clock like in my analogy the main conductor, located In the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), this is a small group of hypothalamic nerve cells.
It functions as a master circadian pacemaker and controls the sleep – wake cycle, it coordinates this with the other circadian rhythms in the brain which enhance behavioural changes. It dictates millions of metabolic processes that keep us alive, including our sleep cycle, digestive system, fat burning and storage, cardiovascular health, our energy, body temperature and many more.
During sleep it works to keep the body in balance with its natural survival state called homeostasis. Here is a brief explanation of what homeostasis means and how it plays an important part in our survival. It is the process in which our bodily organ systems work to maintain an internal functioning environment. Should homeostasis ever fail to work then the maintenance of the body will become unstable.
The nervous system controls virtually all of the bodily activities and the endocrine system secretes the necessary hormones that regulate these activities. Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the pineal gland which is a neuroendocrine organ in our brain as well as other areas such as in the gut, eyes and bone marrow and is known as the sleep hormone. Some people do not produce enough of this during the day and therefore have difficulty with sleeping at night. How exactly does melatonin work? Well melatonin works in synch with our circadian rhythm, many factors can cause the two to misalign and disrupt our body clock also interfere with our bodily functions and overall health, I will come back to this again at the end. When functioning properly the organ systems supply the body cells with the substances they need to maintain homeostasis and survival. If the opposite were to happen it would cause an imbalance due to the cells not receiving what they need. If homeostasis remains imbalanced it could lead to serious fatal diseases, it can also cause toxic waste to accumulate in the body leading to death.
However there are 4 stages of sleep and it is only once the body reaches stages 3/4 the deepest stage of sleep when it actually begins to release those hormones and repair itself. Which is why having your full 8 hours of light sleep is not good enough, it’s important to have several hours of deep quality sleep.
Well I hope after having read that you now better understand how sleep directly impacts our health and that you will now take your sleep and circadian rhythm a lot more serious.
In addition linked to the above, here are four very important reasons as to why a healthy sleep is important for our survival;
Lack of or an excessive amount of sleep has been reportedly linked as a strong factor to weight gain. Our metabolic rate decreases and our energy levels are reduced during a healthy sleep.
When we sleep, the brain clears out any toxic waste that builds up in our central nervous system throughout the day.
Healthy sleep improves the overall functioning of our brain which covers many factors from better productivity and concentration through to our general mood and overall emotional well-being. During sleep there are areas of the brain such as the amygdala that increase in activity, these areas regulate our emotional health. The amygdala is in control of our fear response. It determines our behaviour our fight or flight mode and how we react if we are faced with a perceived threat or find ourselves in a stressful situation. Studies have shown that a healthy sleep allows us to respond in a more healthy correct way to solve any problems it also improves and enhances memory, and performance. On the opposite, a lack of sleep has been shown to impair brain function. Also longer durations without sleep can cause delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, psychosis and In some cases though it is rare, mortality.
A healthy sleep prevents numerous heart diseases including diabetes. It works by decreasing the work of your heart, as the blood pressure and heart rate go down. Insulin is a hormone that helps your cells utilise glucose for energy. Sleep keeps your cells healthy to absorb the glucose and the brain uses less glucose this helps the body to regulate the blood glucose. On the opposite, when you are sleep deprived your heart shows more vulnerability and instead of fluctuating normally the heart rate usually remains elevated. This results in high blood pressure and high glucose levels that eventually lead to diabetes.
Sleep helps to maintain a healthy immune system and defend itself against illnesses. During sleep our immune system restores itself by releasing cytokines, these are proteins that fight infections and inflammation. The body also produces T- cells which are white blood cells, antibodies and other immune cells that prevent us from getting sick and help our bodies fight off illnesses including viruses and pathogens such as covid. Which is why when we are feeling under the weather our body requires more sleep to produce even more of these immune cells.
Now lets continue on with the vital key changes we need to make in our daily routine in order to achieve a healthier sleep.
Earlier in the article I mentioned what melatonin is and how it works in synch with our circadian rhythm.
Below is a list of key things that I have been practicing for years and that I can assure you work very well. They are also directly linked to our circadian rhythm and include the important factors required for the production of melatonin. These are all proven to help with achieving a healthy sleep as well as improving our overall health and well-being.
This may come as a surprise to you, but certain foods and drinks we eat during the day promote a healthier sleep by providing the body with sleep inducing properties such as melatonin. Try to eat at least 4 hours before going robbed, this avoids digestion during bedtime and allows your body to relax and get to sleep. Be sure to incorporate the following food in your daily diet, I will list some of these here for you.
Since our circadian rhythm is regulated by the amount of light it is exposed to. Getting a sufficient amount of natural sunlight in the morning will decrease melatonin levels during the day and increase them at night. During the day our body also secretes a hormone called Seratonin, this helps to keep us awake, boosts our mood and helps with our overall mental health. Try and conduct your daytime activities whether they are work related or personal where you have the most daylight exposure. If your indoor environment is dark then look to making changes to the interior decor or windows in order to allow as much sunlight to enter as possible. You can also purchase a SAD lamp to maximise the amount of light indoors, this mimicks exposure to natural daylight. Although it won’t provide the body will many other health benefits such as vitamin D, it will help during the darker winter months by releasing serotonin and decreasing melatonin levels during the day.
Room light suppresses the melatonin levels by 50-% keeping us awake longer. Make sure to dim the lights down low several hours before bed time. Minimise the use of technology gadgets emitting light and sound by turning your mobile phone off or putting it on silent. This allows the body to begin the process of secreting the calming sleep hormone melatonin allowing us to have a better quality sleep.
I use my Atmos 3in1 which is a diffuser, speaker and also a night light to create a calming atmosphere before bed, it has the entire colour spectrum of the rainbow allowing me to change it according to the time of day. In the evening a couple of hours before bed I set it on a red tone add a few drops of lavender essential oil to it and it really does a great Job in relaxing me. I highly recommend this product, if for all the above reasons and you can find it on my website. If you need to sleep with the light on the red tone doesn’t disrupt your sleep it’s scientifically proven to help increase the melatonin levels unlike any other colour light. I turn it off after a few hours of having it on however and I immediately sleep like a baby.
When we have a regular sleep schedule our circadian rhythm is in balance as it becomes accustomed to our sleeping patterns. Therefore we get quality sleep and are a lot healthier for it overall. When our schedule is irregular however it disrupts our circadian rhythm causing it to misalign and Interfere with other bodily functions and metabolic processes which can lead to illness as-well as making it a lot more difficult to fall asleep when we need to. As adults we should be getting between 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
This is very important, having the right pillow and bedding will work wonders for getting a healthy sleep. I own the prestige collection by Luff sleep and it feels like I’m sleeping on a bed of clouds. I highly suggest heading across to their site www.luffsleep.com and asking them to help you find the right pillow for you, they are extremely helpful. Also finding the right sleeping position that works for you helps determine the right pillow. My favourite sleeping position is laying flat on my back, I’ve slept like this for as long as I can recall. It’s the only position that doesn’t cause me any discomfort during the night or muscle aches the next day. In fact I later found out that sleeping on your back eliminates tossing and turning, muscle aches from having slept funny and also has the most health benefits of all the other positions. I was glad to hear that my body instincts were right all these years telling me to sleep on my back. The prestige pillow allows me to adjust the height of it by removing/adding more of the cloud tech inside which is perfect for anyone sleeping on their back, it also has a cooling gel layer inside that keeps my head nice and cool throughout the night. Most recently after having researched more on sleep, I heard of the “military method”. This is something which can only be achieved when sleeping on your back. For anyone who hasn’t heard of it, it’s a method that sends you to sleep within 10 seconds! Sounds insane doesn’t it? I’ve not yet mastered it myself, but perhaps I will eventually as sleeping on my back sends me to sleep in no time.
Optimising an exercise routine can help you to alleviate any sleep related problems. Preferably going for a walk outdoors as this will also allow you to get all the benefits from natural daylight, such as the sunshine vitamin D, improving our mood and general health. Exercise raises the core body temperature, which signals the circadian rhythm that it’s day time, likewise when the body temperature decreases it signals our brain to prepare for sleep. Physical exercise naturally tires the body and promotes a healthier deeper sleep.
This is an extensive subject and it’s very important for our mental health. Practicing mindfulness allows us to be more present in the moment, but also aware of our feelings and emotions. We create new memories and feel the most alive when we experience reality in the moment.
I’ve always done the following things and they have allowed me to switch off my thoughts and be present in my life with whatever I am doing, but also help me when I need to sleep. Thoughts are essential to our lives as they allow us to think on past memories/events, but also allow us to think on the future and plan ahead. However a lot of our time is wasted when we are not where we should be, which is living in the present moment. Instead we are thinking about being in another place doing whatever else we are dreaming about doing. Our thoughts are a part of who we are and we shouldn’t ignore them. They are our gut instinct and their purpose is to help us feel our emotions and to guide us in the right direction towards the places we need to go.
The key is having the ability to control these thoughts instead of having them control you so that you can experience being present and living a normal everyday life. I share all of these tips with you below;
This could be done during your daily walk or when your sat down, but ultimately you are checking in with yourself. Go through your thoughts, whatever is on your mind at the time so that you can clear your head. Reflecting on things during the day allows us the opportunity to relax our mind in the evening before we go to sleep.
Having spiritual awareness helps us to be more present, but still allows us to connect to our past and future. Whatever your religion or beliefs you can also be an atheist, but acknowledging that you are a part of something bigger gives you a sense of connection and purpose. This will help you to handle the present with confidence and to feel more positive and hopeful about yourself and your day. I share a lot more on affirmations and how they work in my next article, so be sure to check in and read that one also.
My hopes are that you found this article engaging and enjoyable to read. And that you put a lot of the things you have learnt here into good use, so that you may benefit from them, improve your sleep and overall well-being. Remember that in order to make changes to your daily routine you must create a habit of putting them into continuous practice.