A common complaint I hear from my clients is how to help solve problem of not sleeping well. At some time we have all we experienced difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep as we toss and turn and wake up tired. The lack of sleep increases the stress hormone cortisol affecting our immune system, weight, and appearance. It interrupts the release of anti-aging hormones. Studies show sleep disturbances greatly affect our physical and mental wellbeing, especially the links to memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Here are some tips on the physical layout of sleep for a better night’s sleep.
As I first mentioned, my answer is sleep naked. It’s uncomfortable to sleep when the body feels hot. The body needs to stay cool to help get a good night’s sleep. Besides keeping the bedroom dark and cool, free of clutter and electronic devices, sleeping naked has its benefits. There are no constrictions or restrictions. The body does not get tangled up in clothing. When you are moving around to readjust your nightwear, knowingly or unknowingly, you are no longer in a deep sleep.
Sleeping naked allows the skin to breath. The genitals can air out, which helps support proper hygiene. Moisture can increase vaginal bacteria and the risk of yeast infections in women. For men, airing out is a good idea too. Couples looking to conceive may be interested in knowing that exposing the testicles to warmer temperatures decrease the sperm quality, as studies have shown. Then there is the topic of hot flashes and menopause. Ladies, personally speaking, sleeping naked can make a difference in your comfort level.
The type of bed sheets is also important. Choose breathable and natural fabrics like cotton that wicks moisture and perspiration, and keeps you cool and dry. Synthetic polymers like polyester do not breath and cause the body to sweat by trapping in moisture and heat. As sexy and romantic sleeping in satin sheets sounds, satin can also trap heat and be slippery. My personal choice is 100% Egyptian cotton 400 count sheets. Bamboo and linen are great choices too. I use light colored sheets in blue and green shades, which are cooler and can promote relaxation and better quality of sleep.
When it comes to sleep positions, there are a few health related suggestions I will share. Sleeping on your left side has its benefits. The organs are in an anatomically correct position so they can function more effectively. Since air rises, lying on your left side allows for easier release of flatulence, better know as gas. It also improves elimination of waste. You may even find yourself waking up with the urge to have a bowel movement.
The stomach is located on the left side of the body. For those suffering from acid indigestion and reflux, lying on your left side prevents the stomach acids from regurgitating back up into the esophagus and possibly the mouth. Finishing a meal at least 3 hours before sleep will help.
The ideal way to sleep on your left side is to use pillows under the arm and between the legs to keep your hips and lower back in proper alignment. To prevent rolling over on your back, place a pillow behind you. This may seem impractical, inconvenient, or unnecessary. Play with it and let the body be your guide in deciding what is best for you. Sweet dreams.
Before I sign off, I’d like to share with you a bit of George Carlin’s sleep humor from his 1997 book, Brain Droppings.
“People say, ‘I’m going to sleep now,’ as if it were nothing. But it’s really a bizarre activity. ‘For the next several hours, while the sun is gone, I’m going to become unconscious, temporarily losing command over everything I know and understand. When the sun returns, I will resume my life.’
If you didn’t know what sleep was, and you had only seen it in a science fiction movie, you would think it was weird and tell all your friends about the movie you’d seen.
They had these people, you know? And they would walk around all day and be OK? And then, once a day, usually after dark, they would lie down on these special platforms and become unconscious. They would stop functioning almost completely, except deep in their minds they would have adventures and experiences that were completely impossible in real life. As they lay there, completely vulnerable to their enemies, their only movements were to occasionally shift from one position to another; or, if one of the ‘mind adventures’ got too real, they would sit up and scream and be glad they weren’t unconscious anymore. Then they would drink a lot of coffee.
So, next time you see someone sleeping, make believe you’re in a science fiction movie. And whisper, ‘The creature is regenerating itself’.”