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How I finally learned to sleep

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/dec/16/how-i-finally-learned-to-sleep-insomnia

theguardian.com

How I finally learned to sleep
My brain flickered into consciousness and, a moment later, a tiny lift in my chest made itself known. Glee. A simple but palpable joy on waking. I bounded out of bed, looking forward to the day. Then a sudden jolt had me standing, motionless, gazing across the room in wonder.

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The Elixir of Life

The Elixir of Life
Sleep, something which people take for granted, much like oxygen, is the elixir of life.

Insomniacs must know that sleep is natural, and normal, with each of us having the capability to sleep well.

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Tips for Sleeping

Tips for Sleeping
  • Get up at the same time every morning.
  • Write affirmations to tell yourself that your body knows how to sleep.
  • Don't involve your over-thinking mind too much.
  • Use your bed is for sleep and sex only.
  • Don't lie awake for more than 20 minutes on the bed, and if you can't sleep, get up and try to do some calming activity like folding laundry.

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The Enemy of Sleep

The Enemy of Sleep

Our body will take care of itself if left on its own. It is our mind which is the culprit, running like a motor, inducing low-grade anxiety inside us.

Sleep is not something you have to do, but something which happens naturally to you. If an insomniac forgets that he is an insomniac, he will have a good night's sleep.

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Sleep stability

It's the key to a good night’s sleep. It means pinning your bedtime to the same time every night, even on weekends, and waking up at the same time every morning, even on weekends. ...

The "8-hour sleep" myth

8 hours of sleep/night is a useful goal, but it’s not true that everyone needs that. 

A lot of people get obsessed with this goal of getting 8 hours of sleep every single night, and because they’re someone who just doesn’t need that much sleep, or they can’t reliably sleep that long, they get anxious about it and that actually creates issues with insomnia.

Basic sleep hygiene

  • not drinking caffeine after midday;
  • not exercising too late;
  • not drinking alcohol before bed;
  • eating sensibly;
  • leaving mobile devices outside the bedroom (artificial light disrupts the brain).

If doing natural things like this doesn’t work, then it might be wise to consult with a specialist or a doctor.

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Our sleep-wake pattern

Our molecular clock inside our cells aims to keep us in sync with the sun

When we disregard this circadian rhythm, we are at a greater risk for illnesses such as diabetes, heart...

The lifestyle imbalance

Thomas Edison said that sleep is "a bad habit." Like Edison, we seem to think of sleep as an adversary and try to fight it at every turn. The average American sleeps less than the recommended seven hours per night, mostly due to electric lights, television, computers, and smartphones. 

However, we are ignoring the intricate journey we're designed to take when we sleep.

Stage One Sleep

When we fall asleep, the nearly 86 billion neurons in our brain starts to fire evenly and rhythmically. Our sensory receptors become muffled at the same time.

The first stage of shallow sleep lasts for about 5 minutes.

Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle

  • Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day;
  • Avoid sleeping in, even on weekends;
  • Limit naps to 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon;

Melatonin

Is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. 

Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark, making you sleepy, and less when it’s light, making you more alert. 

However, many aspects of modern life can alter your body’s production of melatonin and shift your circadian rhythm

Influence exposure to ligh

During the day:

  • Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning. 
  • Spend more time outside during daylight. 
  • Let as much natural light into your home or workspace as possible.

At night:

  • Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime.
  • Say no to late-night television.
  • Don’t read with backlit devices. 
  • When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is dark.
  • Keep the lights down if you get up during the night.