Tag Archives: sleep

Naturally Well-rested: How Are You Sleeping?

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that fatigue and getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging for me. I’ve learned to cope with the insomnia and, thankfully, that’s rarer these days but I could still feel better rested than I do. Being the health and wellness nerd that I am, I have been researching sleep.

“Can you catch up on sleep?” is one question I have been pondering. I had always heard in the past that you can’t. Once it’s gone, it’s gone; you can’t get it back. However, a lot of new information has cropped up over the last several years claiming that, actually, you can!

Sleep debt is determined by the variance between the amount of sleep you are getting and the amount you ought to be getting. Most of the sources I checked were in agreement that seven to nine hours a night is considered optimal. I guesstimate that I tend to get on average around six or less. Splitting the diff on the optimum range, my sleep debt is around 1.5 hours a night or 10.5 a week. No wonder why I feel so damned tired!

I have decided to dedicate the month of November to getting more shut-eye in the hopes of balancing out my sleep account. Most articles I read, like this one from Scientific American, “Can You Catch Up on Lost Sleep? …”, agreed that the best way to repay your sleep debt is to intentionally get more sleep every night. So if eight hours of sleep is optimal, then aim for nine or ten.

I have been shooting for ten hours a night. I try to be in bed by 9PM and sleep until 6AM. This means I am sacrificing my beloved morning routine somewhat for a while. However, I figure that it does me little good to run through routine activities if I end up exhausted by 2PM. Besides, if this works the way I am hoping it will, then I can return to my AM rituals bright-eyed and bushy-tailed by the holidays. I do want to get to back in the 5AM club before the end of the year!

Are you getting enough sleep at night? Do you feel rested and energetic all day long? I would love to hear from you. Leave me a reply in the comments section!

Many blessings,

Cynthia

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Get Some Rest: Yoga Nidra and 5-HTP

I wanted to write on a different topic this week but it was going to require a good deal of extra work and quite frankly I was too tired…  This lack of energy got me thinking though about the importance of rest.

Since I fell, I have been trying to pay attention to my body and what it is telling me it needs.  Lately, I want to rest, maybe read a little, watch a movie or just sleep.  It seems so, well… lazy.  It occurs to me though, that is my mind talking and when I listen to that chatter and try to push through, I end up feeling worse.  And the last thing I want right now is to needlessly prolong my recovery.

It may seem obvious for me to rest more right now because of my injuries but you probably need some more too.  Our bodies need periods of rest to rejuvenate, repair and restore proper function.  So what do you do if you have trouble resting because you feel guilty or have trouble quieting down and being peaceful during the times that are available for resting?

Peter Ferko, a wonderful yoga instructor, introduced me to a practice called Yoga Nidra while I was having a bad bout with insomnia a few years ago.  Yoga Nidra has been defined as yogic sleep or sleep with awareness.  It is essentially a deeply relaxing meditation practice where you lie down instead of sitting upright.

Yogiraj Rod Stryker describes Yoga Nidra quite well on his website as follows:

Yoga Nidra, Stryker says, relaxes not just the body and mind but also the subconscious–the storehouse of all our psycho-emotional tension, the stuff that keeps us up at night. “At the height of it, you hover in the effortlessness of deep sleep while retaining only a subtle trace of awareness,” he says.

I used Stryker’s cd Relax into Greatness to guide me through the Yoga Nidra process and found it very effective.  The first few times I did it; I actually just fell asleep which was what I needed.  There are many other guided Yoga Nidra cds and mp3s available.  You may even find some free one online.  One of the many benefits of Stryker’s cd is that he offers 2 different length programs: a short and long.  The short program is just long enough to rejuvenate yourself during a lunch hour if you find you are running out of gas during the day.

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) was my other saving grace when I was having trouble sleeping.  5-HTP is an essential amino acid that helps convert tryptophan into serotonin.  In addition to helping with sleep, studies have also linked it to be effective in alleviating mild depression and even suppressing appetite, thus aiding in weight loss.  I found that when I took it a half hour before bed with a little bread and peanut butter (which also contains tryptophan- a natural sleep aid) that I was able to fall asleep and most importantly stay asleep.

I hope you guys found this week’s post interesting and or helpful.  Please share with me what you do to get enough Zs.  I look forward to hearing from you.  In the meanwhile, go get some rest!

Love and Blessings to all,

Cynthia

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