Today I’d like to continue our tips on sleep here talking about the effects of stimulants, depressants and mindfulness on it.
The most popular stimulant we use is caffeine.
I know that when you’ve had a really poor night’s sleep it can be incredibly tempting to use caffeine to keep you gain during the day. I really want to recommend that you resist that temptation.
Caffeine actually has an impact on the body in more ways than you might realise, in particular on your blood sugar.
What happens with caffeine is that you end up causing a repetitive cycle of blood sugar crashing. Then, your blood sugar crashing makes you crave sugary foods, starchy foods and more coffee. You go back up the cycle, you feel good for an hour or so, then you’ll have another crash. In order to cope with that crash, you crave the sugary foods, the starchy foods and some more coffee and then you’re okay again. It keeps repeating all day long. That actually has a really tiring effect on the body over time and it can do is help people add on some weight that they don’t want.
So if that’s an issue for you, just have a look at your caffeine.
I’ve spoken to numerous nutritional therapists over the years and on the whole, people will say one or two cups of coffee in a day is not going to do you a terrible amount of damage. But actually, if you’re really struggling with sleep, you need to make sure that you have absolutely no caffeine after lunchtime. If you’d like to reduce your caffeine intake, make it gradually and do not stop suddenly, in order to prevent potential side effects.
In my previous post on How to sleep well – 3 Yoga tips for adult bedtime routine, I mentioned other stimulants when I suggested not using your screens in the last hour of the day.
The second thing I would like to focus on today is depressants.
You may not realize that alcohol is a depressant: it gives you a little bit of stimulation at the beginning, but then its impact on your sleep cycle is depressive and you can’t stay asleep.
You might have had that experience where alcohol can help you go to sleep, but, then, you’ll wake up in the middle of the night and it’s hard to get back to sleep: you have that sort of restless during the second half of the night. So, with alcohol, it’s really important that if you’re going to drink, you actually need to be drinking much earlier in the evening and believe it or no 6:00! Let’s say you’re going to bed at 10-11 pm, then you would need to be having your alcohol at about 6 pm.
It’s going to be easier on your body if you actually stop having alcohol some nights of the week if you are in the habit of having alcohol every night of the week.
I always recommend to just take things down one step at a time. So, if you’re in the habit of drinking every night of the week, maybe take that down to every other night.
So, we need to reduce alcohol and we need to have it earlier in the day.
The final thing I’d like to introduce today is mindfulness.
Having a poor night’s sleep can throw up so many emotional sorts of questions and worries. There may be things that stress you out partly just because of the tiredness, part because of feeling rattled and not feeling in a routine. Often, we try to medicate ourselves through the use of stimulants or depressive.
Mindfulness works on being able to tolerate whatever emotions are present right now on the understanding that emotions change.
You’re not going to continue to feel whatever it is that you feel right now. If you can just tolerate it, knowing it’s going to change, then that gives you a bit more freedom from needing to use stimulants or depressants.
I’ll focus a little bit more about in my next article. In particular, I will explain more about mindfulness and actually particular hand gestures that work with the meridians. These are the energy channels in your body that help you manage your emotions and allow yourself to sleep from that point of view.