“Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” — Thomas Dekker
With the clocks going back on 25 October at 2am we thought we'd reach out to our resident Health & Wellness expert, Rudi Keil, founder of B Moved, for some hugely valuable insight into the importance of sleep and how to get the very best sleep possible. B Moved has a mission and that is "to help people perform better and live a clean and healthy lifestyle through positive lifestyle choices" and at The Lifestyle Guide, this resonates with our mantra to living your best life. So over to Rudi and we hope you find this piece as beneficial as we did!!!!
Whenever the topic of Sleep arises - people most definitely do not get excited!
They don't start salivating.........
There's absolutely no pupil dilation.....
There's not even a soft grin for the warm cuddly memory of a late Sunday morning in bed!
Sleep is truly the one thing, that every person is unconsciously quite relaxed to go without, happy to sacrifice it for anything more stimulating, but never their skinny lattes, lycra cycling pants or kale smoothies.
We trade it - embarrassingly for Netflix, another 30min on Instagram or FB or potentially what's worse is that we frivolously diminish our shut eye for thinking "downtime" is more valuable.
On the other hand, we readily give it up for work ambitions & late business meetings, thinking that is an acceptable payoff for what we see as more important.
So why is it that we have this devalued opinion on one of life's most important and regular necessities?
Quite simply people just don't know enough about its complexities nor do they respect it enough.
As each of us has our unique biorhythms, one of the most dictating factors is our Circadian rhythm & clock which runs roughly at a 24hr cycle. Playing outside of these parameters causes an unfortunate cascade of hormones to go out of sync. This domino effect alters our protective hormones which leaves us considerably exposed to a multitude of unwanted diseases and long term issues.
Starting as infants our need for sleep is at its highest, we continue into adolescence which is tricky on a variety of levels - during these teenage years our sleep cycle shifts to later evenings hence later rising.
Now by no means am I trying to recreate the school times but in an ideal world, teenagers would only start school or their studies around 10 am. As we move into our late 20s the rhythm returns into more of a "Paleolithic rhythm" -awake and busy during sunlight and sleeping during darkness. From our 30s through to our 60s we start seeing the fundamental importance of our sleep as anti-ageing, recovering, regenerating and most definitely a period to recognise how effective sleep can optimize our lives.
Now before we dive into our various hacks and quick tips, my personal experience leads me down a path of wanting to make it as simple as possible.
Making certain changes can be rather drastic but some of the ones below are more effective if they are applied in a sustainable manner.
What we are trying to create here are habitual behaviours, so consistency and persistence are of the utmost importance.
* Stimulants like caffeine can be a culprit in interrupting and preventing sleep. The "half life" of caffeine, in our bodies, is extremely underestimated... (meaning how long it stays within in our bodies affecting our system) So, if susceptible to either example try going off caffeine entirely or avoid any consumption at the latest before 14:00.
*As mentioned earlier our body's natural rhythm is vital, so keeping regular bedtimes, as well as rising times, are great ways to reprogram our "clocks"
CONTROLLING OUR SLEEP ENVIRONMENT
* Getting our bedroom as dark as possible is going to have the greatest benefits, and yes people…………. that does involve wearing eye masks.
And here are two in particular we thought were great choices:
Our skin is light sensitive especially our eyelids, so when we thinking that we are all good with our eyes closed- sadly we are mistaken. Even that little red standby light on any electronic device is more than enough to disrupt our sleep.
All jokes aside on whoever might travel with "duct tape” hashtag Dexter, but a solid type of tape can go long way as a helpful hack when covering up these nasty Cretan Red Standby Lights. For University students, boarding school pupils and various travellers where hallway lights invade under doors, a rolled up towel will help to eliminate any light.
*All screen time to be avoided before bedtime, in fact, 2 hours before getting into bed This allows for a great opportunity to get into ‘Old School" paperback books, or even more beneficial to start a "grateful journal”!
If screen time is unavoidable for any reason then at least defend yourself with Blue Light Protector Screen Covers. There is a multitude of various products to prevent unnecessary Blue Light exposure in the evening, as well as very exciting products to boost other frequencies of light during the daytime to optimize performance etc.
*Soft gentle stretching, various deep calming breathing and meditation practices are all outstanding practices to round off your day.
* As for Electro Magnetic Pollution, try not to sleep on top of plug points. Cell Phone charging should DEFINITELY be done on flight mode if not entirely turned off, as well as being 2-4m away from your body. Salt Lamps and salt candles are a great hack in helping with positive ions and breaking up the “Electric Smog”
We had a little search on the web and found these two Salt Lamps which are really reasonable:
* Temperature control can be helpful, again following our natural circadian rhythm. With warmth during the day and cool/cold at night-obviously pending on areas and seasons. Trying to get as much natural, clean, fresh air wherever possible.
To Happy Sweet Dreams!
Rudi Keil www.bmovedfitness.com
On behalf of The Lifestyle Guide