When your health is compromised, it’s important to get the healing sleep you need in a powerful, safe sleeping environment.
I’ve written before about the importance of good sleep, and what happens if you don’t get enough of it. During periods when your health is compromised, it’s even more important to get the restorative care you need to facilitate healing. Creating a powerful and safe sleeping environment will help you fall and stay asleep more easily.
Start with the Space
Darken Your Space: Most people sleep better in a darkened room, which supports the function of your pineal gland. This gland secretes melatonin, the hormone that helps to regulate our circadian rhythm. The amount of melatonin you produce depends on how much light you’re exposed to, and the gland is most active when you’re in a dark environment. That’s also why melatonin supplements help you sleep by increasing the quantity your body can access. Darken your sleeping area by installing blackout shades or curtains.
Minimize EMFs: Digital clocks, cellphones, and television sets all cause higher levels of electromagnetic frequencies in your bedroom. You can reduce the disruption from these devices and improve healing sleep by:
- swapping out digital clocks for traditional, battery-operated timepieces
- leaving cellphones and other computerized devices in another room
- unplugging all electrical appliances during your sleeping hours
- painting your walls with EMF shield paint in calm, soothing colors
- removing “dirty” electricity by adding Stetzer filters to the room or installing grounded outlets for appliances.
Any or all of these will result in making your space more sleep-friendly and rest-inducing for your body.
Clear the Air: Nobody sleeps well in a stuffy room full of static and bacteria. If possible, crack a window open to make sure you have plenty of fresh air. Keep the room cool while you stay snug under non-electric blankets or comforters. Try to ensure you’re breathing the purest air possible. If the temperature or your surroundings make open windows impossible, use an air purifier that clears bacteria and odors from the room.
Incline Your Bed: Elevating your upper body by sleeping on a slight incline has multiple benefits for your body, in sickness and in health. It helps your lymphatic system to drain properly, reduces the load on pressure points, opens up your airways and improves your circulation. An adjustable bed can increase your comfort level and ensure a good night’s sleep.
If you aren’t currently in the market for an expensive new adjustable bed, try placing a row of books under the upper half of your mattress. That should give you the few degrees you need for improved rest. You can also use a grounding pad on your bed to help remove EMFs and other interference.
Revise Your Routine
Many sleep experts promote the idea of sleep hygiene, which is defined by the American Sleep Association as a set of behavioral interventions aimed at reducing resistance and promoting peaceful, healing sleep. Here are some of the steps you can take to improve your sleep hygiene.
- Set a bedtime and stick to it within a 20-minute time window as often as possible. By going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, your schedule remains stable and this helps to encourage easier transitions between the sleeping and waking states.
- Avoid any energetic activities just before bed. A trip to the gym or a run in the neighborhood releases endorphins into your system, which invigorate you and can interfere with your ability to sleep restfully. Ideally, you should do most of your daily exercise in the first half of your waking day, so your body has time to restore equilibrium before bedtime.
- Turn off your WiFi router at night, which reduces the amount of EMFs in your surroundings. If this is a mission, adding a timer to the router set up can ensure it happens automatically and you don’t even have to think about it.
- Put down all your electronic devices 2 hours before you go to bed. When you watch TV or play games on your mobile phone in bed, your mind subconsciously associates bed with wakefulness. The blue light given off by most screens also impacts your circadian rhythm, unless you use blue-light-blocking glasses to minimize exposure.
- Avoid daytime naps, which reduce the “sleep debt” that encourages easy drifting off. We all need a certain amount of rest within each 24-hour period, and when you take naps it decreases the quantity of sleep you need the following need. This can cause difficulty falling asleep, fragmented sleep, insomnia and sleep deprivation.
- If you can’t sleep, get up. Don’t lie in bed worrying about being unable to sleep, get up and sit in a chair in a darkened room. Avoid the temptation to eat, drink or watch TV, because these will wake you up even more. Try to maintain your scheduled healing sleep and wake-up times, so you can get your body back on track as fast as possible.
- Skip any foods or drinks containing caffeine for at least 6 hours before retiring. Caffeine can have effects lasting for several hours after consumption, causing difficulty falling and staying asleep. Remember that it’s not only coffee that counts; soda and tea contain caffeine as well, as do many other drinks and some foods.
Many people find that a warm bath or shower followed by a soothing drink, relaxation techniques like meditation, or listening to quiet music before bed helps them to fall asleep more easily.
Don’t expect good, healing sleep to happen by itself. Even if you’ve always fallen asleep easily and don’t often have problems staying that way, you’ll benefit over the long-term from improving your routine before challenges arise. And for anyone fighting a medical condition, the better your rest periods are, the more likely you are to heal.