Zzzzzzz ?

How many “zzzz” are you getting each night?

I have just finished reading two books –Why We Sleep (Matthew Walker) and The Circadian Code (Satchin Panda, PhD) and am anxious to share with you.

These books have really underscored my previous knowledge about the importance of at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. According to Panda, in ranking the primary needs of quality food, exercise, water and sleep, he places sleep in #1 position.

In my herbal studies, we learned about the importance of sleep for the body to heal itself; however, I never realized what all was happening when we sleep – there is a lot of activity going on that we are not consciously aware of.

Did you know that when we sleep our brains “defrag”, “file” and discard the information that we have gathered during the day? Some of the information goes into long term memory so we have “space” the next day in our short term memory to gather information. I am amazed at how these brain cells can to all this work.

Are you aware of your “circadian” rhythm? Many of us know that our ancestors used the light and dark to govern their days. Our systems still tend to work best on this Agrarian format. However, technology has taken the 10 to 12 hour day to 24 by 7 and as such can impact the effectiveness of our sleep.

And, as we age it seems that the ability to sleep 7-8 hours gets more difficult. This could be due to medications, limited exercise or inability to “turn off” the day’s activities. Fortunately there are some non-medicine ways to help one sleep. The one I like to use is deep breathing. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Andrew Weil and the practice of yoga are some of those that talk about the importance of deep breathing – inhale through your nose and extend your belly to count of 5, hold to count of 8-10 and exhale through mouth for a count of 10 -12. This exercise done 5 times can help to relax your mind and allow you to drift off. This breathing exercise is also good during the day if in a stressful situation, need to make a big decision, or just need a computer break.

Here are the links to the books that I mentioned.

Wishing your nights of good sleep!

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