*information obtained from Eight Weeks To Optimum Health by Andrew Weil, M.D
Adequate sleep is a key element of a healthy lifestyle; lack of it increases susceptibility to illness. I am sure you can look to your own experience to find instances when a good night’s sleep nipped early illness in the bud and restored normal health. I know from my own experience that poor sleep is itself a sign of imperfect health and of a predisposition to further breakdown.
Common reasons for not sleeping well include: a bed that is not right for you, a noisy bedroom, excessive stimulation from drugs or sensations during that day, bodily pain or discomfort, and mental or emotional disturbance; depression and anxiety, or an inability to stop thinking about bothersome events.
If bodily pain or discomfort prevents you from getting good quality sleep, it is especially important to pay attention to the design of your mattress.
If your mind is overactive, you will not be able to fall asleep even if you have the most comfortable bed and quietest bedroom in the world and never touch a drop of coffee or tea. Mental overactivity can also wake you after you have fallen asleep. It is very useful to learn to leave the day’s worries behind when you get off into bed.
Sleep Tip: When your mind is very active, try reading a book, doing breathing exercises, or playing sleep inducing sounds to help calm your mind so you can drift off. In addition, you can stretch before bed because it can help balance your musculoskeletal system, it can also help you withdraw attention from thought by focusing it instead on the here and now of bodily sensations.
DID YOU KNOW: stimulant drugs, most often caffeine, are to blame for many cases of insomnia.
Some people are so sensitive to the effect of caffeine on the sleep cycle that even one or two cups of a caffeinated beverage at breakfast will prevent them from falling asleep, pay attention to the amount of coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate you consume, and also check the caffeine content of any prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs you may be taking. Also watch out for ephedra and ephedrine, the active components of many herbal diet and energy products sold in both drug- and health-food stores; pseudoephedrine, nolamine, found in OTC diet pills and cold remedies. All are strong stimulants that can interfere with sleep, depending on your sensitivity to them and the amounts you ingest.