"Sleep is the best meditation." — Dalai Lama.
Sleep brings us the most peace in our day. A midday power nap can be a mindful way to recharge our battery and consistent quality sleep at night is one of the most important contributors to our optimal health and wellness.
Though scientists haven't understood why we sleep, the benefits are tremendous. According to the National Center of Biotechnology Information, the body performs many repairing and maintainence processes that affect nearly every part of the body. Whether you get a deep, quality night of sleep or a miserable night of sleep, your mind, body, and spirit are all affected.
Though there are many health benefits to quality sleep, it is also essential that sleep quality is consistent each night. A good first step can be achieved by going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning. A consistent sleep schedule can manifest an abundance of benefits in your waking life.
How to Get a Good Night's Sleep?
There are many ways to get quality sleep at night. Adjusting the temperature in your home to a cooler temperature (around 66 degrees) reinforces your body’s natural instinct to sleep. In addition, curating a bedtime routine will help your brain recognize when it is time to sleep. The bedtime routine is a set of established habits to help your mind and body relax 30-60 minutes before bed. These habs can include:
- Yoga - A mindful way to calm down the physical body and mind. Many yoga practitioners have said they receive improved sleep and reduced stress when practicing yoga. Practicing yoga mindfully, not just going through the motion, has increased melatonin levels and reduced nighttime sleep disturbances. Another benefit to practicing nighttime yoga is that it focuses on deeper breaths to help you relax and send signals to your body and brain that it is time to relax and let go. Searching “Bedtime Yoga” on Youtube will provide many videos to help you establish this habit.
- Meditation - Meditating allows you to check in with yourself and helps the body and mind relax. Though many apps provide guided sleep meditations, a simple form of meditation is called the body scan. Start by lying down in your bed, and thinking about your body. Breathe slowly and focus your attention on each part of your body, starting with your head and slowly moving down to your feet. Feel the total weight of your body on top of the bed and let it sink into the bed as you scan down each part of your body.
- Eliminate Electronics Before Bed - The use of electronics such as your phone, tv, laptop, tablet, etc. emit a blue light that floods your brain, tricking it into thinking it’s daytime resulting in your brain suppressing melatonin production.
Journaling your thoughts before bed, brushing your teeth, and getting your room nice and cozy like you're about to sleep in an oasis can all be a part of your routine. The important part is it is about what works best for you.
Brain Waves & The 5 Stages of Sleep
Now that you are tucked in your cozy bed after a relaxing bedtime routine let’s talk about how active your brain is while you sleep. Your brain operates on five different types of brain waves that researchers discovered only 70 years ago. In those 70 years, we have learned the frequencies of active brain waves while we sleep.
The 5 Brain Waves
Understanding our brain waves can help us understand the five stages of sleep that occur and the benefits we gain from them. How do our brain and body reap the benefits? Accumulating 7-9 hours of sleep each night is optimal for mental clarity, energy, vitality, and cognitive focus.
is the lightest form of NREM (non-rapid eye movement) that can easily be disrupted, causing us to wake. In this sleep stage, your muscles begin to relax (sometimes twitch), and the alpha brain waves activity begins. Some suggest a feeling of drifting that may be an evolutionary hangover from when our ancestors lived in trees that prevented them from falling out of.
begins the first stage of deep sleep. During this stage, our breathing pattern and heart rate slow down. In addition, our body begins to decrease in temperature. While in this stage, awakenings are less likely to occur. Theta brain waves are active in this stage.
Stages 3 & 4
are considered NREM, with each stage progressing our body into a deeper sleep. Stage 3 consists of slow delta waves and is often difficult to wake up. In stage 4, our breathing becomes rhythmic, and we have limited muscle activity as our brain produces more delta waves.
is when we go into REM sleep. Brainwaves speed up, and the deepest and most powerful dreams occur. As our heart rate increases, our breathing becomes more rapid and shallow. In this stage, our brain waves are smaller, like in waking periods, and this is typically when sleepwalking occurs.
As you sleep, your body cycles from light sleep to deep, back to light sleep, then into REM. Each cycle can last about 90 minutes on average, though sometimes it can be under an hour or up to two hours.
The stages of sleep are constantly being researched and studied since they are a complex function of the human brain. However, we do understand they’re crucial to the health and well-being of our bodies and brain. Next, we will go over some benefits of a night of quality sleep and why what you wear to bed can play a part in a good night of sleep.
Benefits of a Full Sleep Cycle
- Improved Mental Health
Waking up on the right side of the bed has some truth in it, but not in the physical sense. After a good night's sleep of 7-9 hours, you wake up with a full battery of energy, thus raising your energetic frequencies. When your energetic frequency is at a high vibration, your day is more likely to be filled with love, gratitude, and positivity. On the contrary, not getting a good night's sleep may affect our mood. A lack of sleep can result in feeling under the weather or waking up anxious.
- Sleep Improves Memory & Mental Function
While your body is at rest, your mind works throughout the night, processing your memories of the day and making them stick. The better quality of sleep you get, the more likely your mind will remember something you learned.
Scientists have a theory called "Brain Plasticity Theory'' that sleep is necessary so the brain can grow, reorganize, restructure, and make new neural connections. Our brain is the most powerful computer we have access to. In our waking life, through powerful positive self-affirming self-talk, and healthy inner dialogue, our brain can literally re-wire and re-program itself, which is called neuroplasticity.
A combination of neuroplasticity and “Brain Plasticity Theory” can support you in living your best life.
- Physical Recovery
Challenging yourself in the gym or yoga practice provides you with powerful, positive energy. One of the best ways to recover is through sleep. The body's production of growth hormones is at its highest during sleep. Without sleep, your body is at risk of fatigue, can from low performance in the gym or on the mat, and is at a higher risk of injury.
- Sleep Improves Your Immune System
When your body can get the amount of sleep it needs, your immune cells and proteins get the rest they need to fight off whatever comes their way — like chronic diseases, colds, and the flu. While sleeping, the immune system can recognize and react to dangerous antigens. Our muscle activity and breathing slow down when we are asleep, allowing the immune system to perform critical tasks to keep our bodies safe and healthy.
What You Wear to Bed Matters
What you sleep in can affect your sleep quality. Though you can find trendy pajama prints and designs, the fabric can not only be a bit scratchy to the touch; it is likely filled with chemicals that have direct access to your skin, which is the largest organ in the human body. Sleeping in heavy, polyester based fabrics, and binding clothing is not only uncomfortable, but it can also inhibit melatonin production, which helps to regulate our sleep cycles.
Wearing breathable, lightweight fabrics is ideal. Hadobody’s hero fabric, micro modal, is the perfect sleep companion, feeling silky smooth on the skin and feeling virtually weightless!
Our Hadobody undies, briefs, and tees are made with environmentally safe fabric, containing no harsh chemicals or petroleum-based fibers, such as polyester and its many cousins. Give yourself the gift of sleep comfort and holistic health by choosing fabric fibers that not only feel buttery soft but are good for you, too. Infuse your body with positive self-affirmation throughout the day and at night while you sleep.
It is our intention at Hadobody to support you in feeling your best and living your best life. Through the combination of quality of sleep and infusing your body with positive self-affirmation, you can effortlessly remember how magnificent you truly are.
With Love & Light!
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