Not Just Talkin' The Talk
The Sleep Thieves
By Linda Goldfarb
Certified Physical Fitness Specialist
CBN.com Do you find yourself tossing and turning throughout the night? It could be the result of a late night chocolate fix. But not everyone is a chocolate eater. Then why do we live with our sleep-tank on empty? We live in a state of un-rest because of the thieves who come to steal our sleep.
Sleep stealers don’t always arrive in the night, and they don’t always show up as food. In some cases, they are things we do during the day that rob us of our much needed sleep. A positive result of recognizing the thieves is gaining control over our lives by choosing to reduce or eliminate them.
This article has a two-fold purpose: First, I am confident that you will recognize patterns in your life that can be changed to fill your sleep-tank, and second, it will give you information you can use to encourage others to do the same. I firmly believe as we gain knowledge we are to pass it on to improve the wellbeing of those around us. Just remember as you share, not all soil will be good for the planting or receptive to the message… share anyway and let God sort the soil.
I mentioned chocolate as a tool of the sleep thieves, but we need to beware of its brothers and sisters in the CAFFEINE family. Consuming dark sodas, tea, coffee, and chocolate after lunch can prevent us from going through the natural steps* needed to fall asleep. Increased trips to the bathroom at night are tied into the amount of caffeine in our system, as is the lighter and shorter sleep patterns we experience.
Do you partake in an occasional nightcap of ALCOHOL before retiring for the evening, expecting it to help you sleep better? The sleep induced by alcohol is not healthy. Consider this: Alcohol interferes with REM sleep (see my article about the Sandman*), it causes intermittent sleep patterns, and it often triggers frightening nightmares. Snoring and other nighttime breathing challenges can worsen as well.
LACK of EXERCISE steals our sleep. Physical activity increases our quality of sleep by decreasing the time it takes to fall asleep. If we include 20 to 60 minutes of accumulated physical activity daily, three to five times a week, we can reduce the number of times we wake up at night and increase deep restorative sleep.
Our body has a great way of relaxing. Several systems begin to slow down during sleep. Our brain activity and heart rate slows down and our blood pressure drops to ensure peaceful regenerative sleep. Tobacco use can increase our heart rate, brain activity, and blood pressure making it difficult to sleep. Avoid using NICOTINE within one to two hours before sleep.
Because I spend a large amount of time in my office, my husband, Sam, installed a “Full Spectrum Light”** to bring sunlight into my workplace. INADAQUATE SUNLIGHT throws off our sleep regulator. Exposure to natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes each day will regulate the biological processes that regulate our sleep and wake cycles.
BUSY BEDROOMS are not conducive to proper sleep. We need quiet, dark, work-free rooms with the temperature not above 70° Fahrenheit (check out www.mercola.com) to ensure a good night’s sleep. A bedroom set up as an office doesn’t cut it. Paint the walls with calm colors and move electronic devices a distance of three feet from your bed, as the electronic field may interfere with restful sleep.
LIGHT AT NIGHT - If you get up in the middle of the night, turning on a light immediately stops the production of melatonin (a hormone derived from serotonin and secreted by the pineal gland that is important in regulating biorhythms). If you must have light, use a soft night light you can turn on and off easily. Choosing to practice slow ninja-like moves in the dark will maintain the flow of melatonin and likely increase your ability to sleep.
A big complaint I hear from people is the inability to go to bed at the same time every night. But we need to understand, ERRATIC SLEEP schedules can prevent complete and beneficial sleep. When you find a pattern that works for you, maintain it during travel and even on the weekends.
I covered in detail the Stages of Sleep in a past newsletter*. My attack on POWER NAPS drew great attention. Really it wasn’t an attack; it simply stated that we need to be aware of the length and timing of our naps to ensure restful and complete overnight sleep. If you find napping a necessity, do it early in the day and not for more than 30 minutes.
If you find yourself staying up late at night trying to “fix” the problems of your day, it’s likely STRESS plays a major factor in your inability to sleep successfully. Elevation of heart rate and blood pressure can be caused by stress. A suggestion to limit work-related stress in your life would be to pick an early time of day to list areas that need attention then place them in an ABC priority based action-plan. Complete the A’s first, B’s second, and so on. Don’t go over a to-do or work-list at night; it will continue to flash in your mind and disrupt your sleep.
Most people require 8 – 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep to perform best during their wake time. I share signs of sleep deprivation in my CBN.com article, Are You Sleep Deprived? Check it out.
Let me hear from you. I enjoy answering your e-mails and look forward to encouraging you on your journey to satisfied sleep.
Some of the tips shared today were adapted from the Quick Series guide to healthy sleep and the Mercola Web site listed above.
*My newsletter covers spiritual, physical, and relational power each month. Stages of Sleep are found in the archived articles dealing with physical power.
**E-mail me for details on the full spectrum light.
Linda Goldfarb is a certified physical fitness specialist, speaker, and syndicated radio talk show host. You can download her weekly “Not Just Talkin’ the Talk” radio broadcasts, a one hour variety talk show based out of San Antonio, Texas, at www.lindagoldfarb.com. Linda’s show encourages listeners to “walk the walk” spiritually, physically, and relationally each and every day. Contact Linda to speak at your next event: firstname.lastname@example.org. (Photo Copyright © Lisa Pittman Photography).
Before beginning any new fitness program that requires a change in diet or exercise, it is recommended that you consult your physician for input. This informational series is not intended for medical or nutritional claims dependent on substantial clinical studies and FDA approval, and should not be construed as a claim for cure, treatment, or prevention of any disease. It is intended solely for information and educational purposes. Linda is not a physician or expert in the medical field. She has been involved in the health and fitness industry as a personal trainer and fitness instructor for numerous years. The information given in these sessions have been derived from books and materials brought together over the years from many sources, including her personal life experiences.
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