05 October, 2010

The Art of Living: Sleep


Last week, or so, in Psychology, we've been talking about sleep. As I thought about it, I figured it would be a perfect "art" to master. The way sleep works, it has various stages and forms a rhythm that your body needs. Not to get technical, there are 4 stages, re-occurring about 5 times in eight hours of sleep. Each of these cycles of the stages are very important to the body, thus taking hours from sleep, you deprive your body of cycles it needs.
So some say they function better on less sleep. WRONG. Some say they can catch up on weekends. WRONG. The older one gets, the less sleep they need, but it isn't until middle age, or later, that a person needs less than eight hours. As for catching up on sleep, sleep is not money. You can't spend a ton and pay it back later. It simply won't work. Now I'll admit I'm a night owl, but science has shown that getting sleep when it is DARK outside is Vital! Your body naturally wants to sleep at night. Granted, those who work night shifts, don't have this option. You say their body gets used to it? Only after MANY years of the same schedule. This is, obviously, all scientific. Later, I will do a lesson focusing on dreaming and interpretations. But back to science and actual sleep.
I suffer from insomnia. It is the most common sleep disorder, and the only one I will talk about. Insomnia is difficulty getting to sleep, to put it simply. There are medications, sleep aides, to help, but these alter your mind and could possibly cause sleep cycles (the earlier mentioned 4 stages) to become altered. Other then medications and chemicals there are various ways to help an insomniac go to sleep. Here are a few:
  • Tense each of the muscles in your body, one at a time, then relax them.
  • Don't worry in bed. If you absolutely have to, get up and write all your worries down to relieve your mind of them.
  • Make a regular routine. Maybe you get home, homework, dinner, shower, reading, and sleep. Or maybe get in bed with a book and a cup of tea. A routine becomes a signal to your mind that "Hey, anytime these things happen this way, it's time to shut down."
  • Consentrate on pleasant things to relax and sleep.
  • Don't try to force yourself to sleep, it will only back fire.
  • Remove things such as TVs and Computers when you're sleeping. Better yet, TURN OFF THE PHONE! Don't respond to texts or answer phone calls, they'll only cause you to stay awake LONGER by waking your mind back up.
  • Focus on breathing.
  • Watch out for intrusive lights. Any bright lights, blue lights, red lights, these discract the mind and bother the eyes.

These are only a few things to do. Most importantly, get good sleep, at least 8 hours, during the dark time of day. Like wise, don't nap. It will disrupt the sleep cycle as a whole. If you have to nap, make it no longer then 30 - 45 min, this short time shouldn't disrupt your sleeping at bed time.
Does anyone else have any ideas? Comments?
Princess Raelynn

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