With Sleep Day on the horizon, falling on 13th March 2020, we look back to history with our Greek connections and delve a little deeper into the why's of sleep, how easily prevented the lack of the wanderlust can be and how we can aid a peaceful night's sleep.
"Hypnos the Greek God of Sleep - hypnotics aid sleep, to hypnotise is to put in a sleep like state."
We all know we need sleep but why do we?
1. Increases energy
2. Improves concentration
3. Greater capacity to learn
4. Better ability to make healthy food choices
5. Improved immune system function
6. Enhanced autophagy
7. Reduced risk of developing chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes
8. Better memory
9. Increased life expectancy
10. Reduced risk of being overweight
11. Reduced stress levels
12. Reduced risk of degenerative brain disorders
Is that enough reasons?
The phrase ‘beauty sleep’ refers to the regeneration of skin cells overnight and should be considered as part of your skincare routine. The physical and mental benefits are evidence that enough sleep is crucial. Ever since our evolution, sleep has been a vital function.
But how much is enough? The ‘normal’ is 8 hours unless you are a teenager when you need at least 10 for the best results. However, if you have more or less, a good way to check if you have had enough is ask yourself do you wake feeling refreshed? Do you regularly wake around the same time without an alarm? Do you fall asleep within 30 minutes of going to bed?
90% of our health is determined by our environment rather than our genes, so set the scene for sleep...
1. Dark room or use a sleep mask
2. No caffeine after midday. (Don’t forget chocolate contains caffeine!)
3. Avoid vigorous exercise in the evening instead practice yoga or stretching
4. Listen to music
5. No tech 90 minutes before sleep and charge devices elsewhere rather than the bedroom
6. Eat at least two hours before bed
7. Have a hot bath with Gaia Calming Bath Oil
8. Make sure your bedroom isn’t too warm
There are 4 phases of sleep. The first phase when you are drifting off you are at your most wakeable, the second stage - the longest phase - makes room for new memories and learning new things.The third phase is the most deep and is when memories are stored. The last phase is the most important to unlearn and process trauma. When travelling, these phases can be disturbed and certainly when you are crossing many time zones and our circadian rhythms are very much controlled by light and darkness.
Sleep deprivation is thought to cost the British economy about £40bn a year, so it is important each day, certainly in the morning, to get plenty of daylight. Being outside for 20 minutes daily can improve your mood and help you switch off. The importance of Gaia Mother Nature helps clear the mind making you more efficient and able to sleep better at night.
We should look at Blue Zone areas with the longest lived cultures. One example is Ikaria, a Greek Island where 1 in 3 inhabitants live to 90, have increased vigilance, alertness, logical reasoning and reaction times. All residents here take a microsleep during the day - it seems that we still have a lot to learn from the Greeks...