Sleep is one of the most restorative practices you can put yourself through. Sleep not only guarantees that we will be well-rested the next day, but it also allows plays a major role in our healing process. There are so many reasons why you should want to sleep and why you should stop scrolling through IG and close your eyes tonight.
- While sleeping, our brains have the opportunity to deal with unprocessed events or feelings we were too busy to acknowledge while awake. Normally, our brains translate those emotions and events into dreams so we can better process the information. Even the weirdest dreams have some meaning behind them, which is why Psychoanalyst Freud was so passionate about people’s dreams and their meaning.
- Sleep allows the body to work on different areas that need healing or attention. For example, when I suffered from extreme hormonal acne, I noticed that my face would look worse if I had a bad night of sleep. This meant that my body was using focusing on the fact that I couldn’t sleep instead of paying attention to the lesions on my face. The body uses resources and energy to heal the cells and scratches, so if we are awake, the healing process won’t happen efficiently.
- It’s not only about the sense of being well-rested. Lack of sleep affects our mood causing us to feel more grumpy, angry and stressed. At this point, the body’s fuel tank is running empty and it’s hard for the mind to stay focus. We also deal with life events differently when we don’t sleep because we don’t have the mental capacity to be objectives or remain calm. Do you feel angry or on the edge often? Check the quality of your sleep!
- According to Ayurveda, sleep increases Kapha dosha which is the dosha that keeps us calm, serene, and grounded. Kapha dosha is the representation of the earth element. If we are high in Vata (air element) or Pitta (fire element), we won’t last and our mental and physical health will suffer. We balance this by increasing Kapha dosha which in turn reduced Vata and Pitta energies. Sleep is a wonderful way to increase Kapha dosha. Who doesn’t feel great after a good nap, right?
- Sleep keeps you sane, literally. In fact, there are many studies linking lack of sleep with early dementia and other mental health challenges like anxiety, depression, and even bipolar disorder. A good night of sleep will give your exhausted brain the chance to rest and restore, and believe me, your brain needs this!
Now that we know how important sleep is, let’s talk about some ways to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.
- Set a night routine that starts at least 2 hours before you go to bed. This is going to help your body to calm down and start producing Melatonin which is the hormone the brain produces to send us to Morfeo (the God of sleep and dreams).
- Drink a sleep tonic 30 minutes before bed. There are many out there, so you have a great variety to pick from. I recommend something that contains chamomile, lavender, nutmeg, or cloves. You can find my personal sleep tonic on my website at Barefoot Health with Vanessa.
- Have a notebook and pencil nearby. This is going to come in handy if you have lots of thought rushing in as soon as you close your eyes (being there!). Writing down your thoughts will help you release them and process them so you don’t have to think about them. Daily journaling is highly recommended too.
- Reach out for help. Insomnia is a big problem and usually a symptom of something else. Make sure you are checking with your doctor or therapist to rule out psychological or physical challenges. You can also consult a Health Coach or Ayurvedic consultant for more holistic and natural approaches. Sometimes it’s just as easy as teaching your body when you want to go to sleep.
Sleep is precious and as a person who suffered from insomnia for many years, I can understand and relate to the frustration that comes from not being able to sleep. Be proactive! Use these tips to improve your sleep and heal yourself, and remember that you are not alone.