The average person can go 15 to 30 days without water and still survive; generally even longer without food. That same person can go only 3 to 4 days without sleep before he or she enters “eternal sleep.” Sound, restful sleep is an essential ingredient not only to survive but also to live longer, prevent diseases like cancer and stroke and to enhance quality of life each and every day.
Like me, as you pass through middle age are you finding it tougher and tougher to sleep soundly through the night? Some nights I fall asleep like a baby and remain that way the whole night through. Other nights my mind just won’t shut down at bed time; I keep reliving events of the day just past or fret over what tomorrow or next week may bring. Worse yet, I sometimes awaken around 3 AM and my mind won’t let me get back to sleep. Interestingly, my sleep deprivation is not directly related to stress or worry; some of my toughest nights occur on Friday and Saturday when I have nothing but a relaxing weekend in my immediate future.
On my weekly Internet radio program, “Middle Age Can Be Your Best Age” (find our link at the top of page one on Google), I recently interviewed Canada’s leading “sleepologist”, J. Waterman. Here are some tips he gave which can help you and me get a better night’s sleep:
- Write down on paper what’s on your mind every night right before retiring. By writing them down, you get these thoughts and issues out of your head and down on paper where they can be remembered and addressed first thing in the morning.
- Before going to bed, resolve and visualize experiencing a sound, restful night’s sleep. Yes, the law of attraction works in the bedroom.
- Follow a five-step protocol to enhance your breathing during sleep. This includes a mucus-melting diet (e.g., horse radish), avoidance of foods that take your breath away (e.g., wheat and potatoes), physical exercises that strengthen breathing muscles (a good hard laugh is one of the best), breathing exercises, and air hygiene (get those negative ions flowing in your bedroom.)
- Be aware of what your body needs to accomplish during sleep. First, it must digest all food, so a big hearty meal right before bed is not a good idea. Second, it must remove all toxins from your body, so forget that late-night beer or cocktail supposedly helping to relax you for sleep. Only after these two functions are completed will the sleeping body move on to restoring and rejuvenating your cells, tissues and bodily fluids, at which point sleep becomes an energy-enhancer and an anti-aging remedy.
- A good mattress, customized to your body, is vitally important. Every individual has a unique mattress setting perfect for him and her. Also, for any one person, the perfect setting may vary from time to time. J. Waterman strongly endorses customizable mattresses that can be adjusted from time to time to fit your then-ideal setting.
- It’s better to exercise in the daytime or at least several hours before bed. Strenuous exercise right before turning in stirs up energy within your body. This energy may be difficult to dissipate when attempting to fall asleep. Note: exercise during daylight hours is a highly positive ingredient to a sound night’s sleep.
- Complete silence isn’t always ideal for falling to sleep. As a better option, Mr. Waterman recommends soothing music which can ease your mind down into a semi-conscious state lulling you into sleep.
- Pay attention to where your dog sleeps–you may want to follow your pet’s lead. Our entire Earth contains a “geographic grid” and dogs prefer the same electrostatic fields as do humans. Perhaps your dog will be willing to share his or her dog house or favorite spot on the tile floor!
On a more serious note, scientific studies demonstrate that consistently sound, rejuvenating sleep reduces your risk of cancer by 500%! To live longer and healthier and to keep your mind at its sharpest throughout the day, it is essential to target sound sleep as a highest priority. For many of us over 40, improved sleep habits will play an essential role in accomplishing midlife renewal. To wake up to life, first condition yourself to sleep soundly throughout the night!
To learn more about good sleep habits, tune in to my interview with J. Waterman on the June 10, 2013 episode of my Internet radio program, “Middle Age Can Be Your Best Age“–available now on your PC or the smart phone nearest you!