Do you feel like you get enough sleep every night?
Surprisingly, according to this article on help guide.org,
most healthy adults need between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best.Children and teens need even more (see box at right). And despite the notion that our sleep needs decrease with age, older people still need at least 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep.
It goes on to say that only 3% of the population have a gene that allows them to do well on six hours of sleep a night. Everyone else? Is lying to themselves.
So, how do you know if you are sleep deprived? The article has a handy list:
You may be sleep deprived if you…
- Need an alarm clock in order to wake up on time
- Rely on the snooze button
- Have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning
- Feel sluggish in the afternoon
- Get sleepy in meetings, lectures, or warm rooms
- Get drowsy after heavy meals or when driving
- Need to nap to get through the day
- Fall asleep while watching TV or relaxing in the evening
- Feel the need to sleep in on weekends
- Fall asleep within five minutes of going to bed
That would be pretty much all of us, wouldn’t it?
The consequences not getting enough sleep are far-reaching:
- Fatigue, lethargy, and lack of motivation
- Moodiness and irritability
- Reduced creativity and problem-solving skills
- Inability to cope with stress
- Reduced immunity; frequent colds and infections
- Concentration and memory problems
- Weight gain
- Impaired motor skills and increased risk of accidents
- Difficulty making decisions
- Increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems
How can yoga help?
Yoga activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which serves to slow your heart rate and increase intestinal and gland activity. It opposes the actions of your sympathetic nervous system (which accelerates the heart rate, constricts blood vessels, and raises blood pressure).
You can’t get good quality sleep when your sympathetic nervous system is activated, it’s that simple. So doing yoga brings you into a state of calm which is conducive to a good nights’ sleep.
I quite like this little sequence that you can do before bed, in your PJ’s! If you haven’t been able to go to yoga class, you might still be able to get a few of these poses in, and help your body rest well.
Fitness magazine's night time yoga
I’m a big fan of the afternoon nap. Heck, I’m even a fan of the morning nap, if I haven’t had a good night’s sleep.
Given a choice I’d have a nap every day. My hubby said the other day that he thinks humans are designed to sleep in the afternoon and maybe we are all so messed up because we DON’T.
Turns out he’s got a point...
Do you remember that post I wrote about the importance of rest?
It led to a lot of interesting conversations, in class, and also over email.
It seems most of us have a hard time nurturing ourselves. Here are some journal prompts to head you in the right direction.
This question gets asked in some form or other very regularly: if sitting all curled up isn't great for us, what about sleeping that way?
Well, sleeping curled up brings our spines into their primary curve and that's a comforting place to be. But.
We DO want to give our bodies a chance to find some balance, and sleeping curled up won't do that if we've been at a desk all day. Watch this video for ideas on how to align while you sleep.
If you battle to sleep sometimes, here are a few hints to help.
I've mentioned before that I am not a huge fan of detoxing. The word is often used as a synonym for restrictive diets and other unhelpful practices. Also, one organism's toxin is another's food. So it's all a matter of perspective.
But I am a fan of helping the body get rid of what it no longer needs - which you might call detoxing! Here are my favourite ways to do that. Safety approved.