Getting sufficient sleep is considered an easy way to boost immunity, improve mood, and curb some level of inflammation. This seems to be the easiest thing to remedy at first glance, but in our busy world, it’s not as easy as it should be.
As a matter of fact, the movie “Sleepless in Seattle” could be remade into “Sleepless in the USA”. Around 2005 Dr. William C. Dement, MD, declared after his research that “we are a sleep-sick nation”. He called this phenomenon a “hidden epidemic”.
Sleep deprivation is not just about insufficient hours spent in bed. Most surveyed in Dr. Dement’s study responded with an average of around seven hours nightly.
Quality of sleep is more important than hours in bed with problems getting to sleep or waking up often. His study did observe that most who put in seven hours or more had difficult or interrupted sleep patterns. Many reported feeling groggy after a perceived decent night’s sleep.
An Unusual Study Conducted on Sleep Quality
There are brain wave proven five stages of sleep that one should cycle through at least once, but often one cycles through all five more than once. Stages 3 and 4 offer the most Delta wave patterns, and these are considered the most important for building the immune system and preventing or curbing inflammation.
A study at the Mt. Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach, Florida consisted of observing the brain wave sleep patterns of 10 men who had tested positive for HIV but had no early signs of AIDS.
Their brainwave readings indicated that somehow these 10 men all spent 50% more time in Stage 3 and 4 sleep than most average healthy people.
Stage five is that well known rapid eye movement (REM) phase where most of our dreams occur. These may offer a release valve from stressful situations. Reacting to stress by producing too much cortisol chronically is an excellent precursor to inflammation.
Getting Better Quality Sleep
Pharmaceutical sleeping pills usually do not render one into a full cycle deep sleep. You are simply drugged. And some of those drugs for sleeping have resulted in disastrous episodes of sleepwalking, strange food binges, and even sleep driving!
Suicidal thoughts and impulses and other violent behaviors have also been associated with pharmaceutical sleeping pills.
Sleep disorders or restless sleeping can be remedied by ensuring there’s no trace of light in the room. If that can’t be helped, wear one of those sleep masks to shield the eyes from leaking light that can find your eyes even while shut.
Just a little light can inhibit melatonin secretion from the brain’s pineal gland. Melatonin is the sleep hormone, which can be safely supplemented to assist with full cyclic sleeping with deep sleep stages.
Environment: Sounds should not disturb. There are soothing white noise ambient sound producing machines that can help, like soft rain, surf, crickets, etc. Ear plugs can be used if that doesn’t work.
The room’s ambient temperature should be no higher than 75 degrees. Research has shown room temperatures in the mid-60 degree Fahrenheit range ideal for good deep sleeping, with a blanket or two of course.
Environments too warm or cold promote restless interrupted shallow sleeping.
Taking an easy to assimilate potion of magnesium just before going to bed, such as what the product “Calm” offers, helps one’s muscles relax. In general, keep your magnesium levels high with magnesium citrate supplements. It’s a mineral that’s essential to over 300 metabolic functions as well as a natural muscle relaxer.
There are other herbs, such as valerian and chamomile, which also help ease some to sleep. Melatonin supplements, especially sublingual tablets, help me sleep solidly and soundly with deep sleep stages intact.
Unlike pharmaceutical sleeping pills, melatonin is not addictive. It supplements one’s natural melatonin hormone to compensate for factors that interrupt or inhibit pituitary gland melatonin production.
Too much mental activity just before attempting to sleep can create a poor quality of sleep issue. Meditating prior to sleeping or practicing the yoga corpse pose the way it should be done, relaxing every muscle of one’s body with full mindful awareness are better options than too much thinking or talking or even watching TV.
Exercise: Besides improving energy flows and increasing blood circulation, it’s commonly held that folks who exercise regularly sleep well. It doesn’t really have to be too rigorous or strenuous, though some do prefer it that way. Long brisk walks 20 to 30 minutes long five days a week are often sufficient for many.
During the day, if one gets sleepy or tired, do what you can to take a nap instead of taking stimulants to “keep going”. Depending on your line of work, this may prove difficult. But taking or drinking anything stimulating just works to increase cortisol. It doesn’t make up for your lack of sleep.
There are other situations that may induce fatigue or feeling tired besides a lack of quality sleep. One is simply sheer boredom. Another is putting a lot of effort into a project and not succeeding. One needs to be honest about what may be creating a tired washed out feeling.
If none of the above apply, it’s time to find a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner or Ayurveda practitioner to get to the bottom of your fatigue. Yeah, you can see a regular MD for testing. But stay away from their pharmaceutical solutions.
featured image: corewalking.com