The Easiest Way to feel Good -- Get enough Sleep

Recently I surveyed a variety of friends and family and asked them if they felt they often got a good night sleep. The responses were an overwhelming, “mostly no.” The answers varied from, that they either don’t get enough sleep, go to bed too late, or wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep.

Not a scientific study for sure, but I bet this is not far off most people’s experiences.

One easy step to boasting your level of joie de vivre is to get adequate sleep (7-8 hours regularly). In fact, in 2004, the journal Science reported that the quality of our sleep had more to do with having a great day than our income or marital status. Wow, if we can affect our happiness level so easily everyday, what is stopping us?

Sleep More -- Loose Weight

Life of course. But let’s take it a step further. A recent article by S.R. Patel published in the 2009 peer-reviewed journal International Association for the Study of Obesity states that sharp decreases in the hours of sleep correlate with the rapid rise in obesity in Western countries. The study purported that the less sleep we have the greater the appetite. Want to loose weight, get your 8 hours of sleep every night.

In teens, the research shows that lack of sleep (which is rampant) leads to depression. The more kids sleep the happier they are.

So let’s give ourselves the gift of one easy habit we can change – a little more sleep.

In the Ayurvedic tradition, they suggest that an hour of sleep before midnight is worth 2 hours after midnight. Go to sleep at 11pm and get up at 6 am and you have 7 hours of actual sleep but a bonus of 1 more hour. Try going to bed at 10pm and you definitely wake up bushy tailed and wide eyed. Stay up reading the latest news, catching up on email and surfing the web until midnight and you will end up living on a mere 6 hours of sleep, not enough to keep you from dragging a bit throughout the day.

 Try going to bed for 3 nights in a row at 9pm

As an experiment, they propose that you go to bed by 10 or earlier 3 nights in a row and see how you feel. One week when I was especially tired, I tried it and I was amazed at how it made me feel going into the third day.

Granted, there are often other physical or emotional issues that wake us up that are difficult to manage, but hopefully the following will help.

  • go to bed by 10  - at least 3 nights a week 
  • Get in bed 30 minutes before you want to sleep; read, draw, and relax your mind 
  • Don’t go to bed right after watching TV or on the computer. Your mind will race for another hour or two.
  • get medical assistance or visit a homeopathic pharmacy, if you are waking up in the night. No one has to suffer through night sweats, insomnia, or fitful sleeping.
  • put up dark curtains or wear night shades and ear plugs if you need to      

Most of all recognize that a good nights sleep is just as important to your health and happiness as the food you put into your body, the exercise you engage in, and how you take care of yourself in every other way.