One of the most important factors in mind-body maintenance is having a consistent regular good nights sleep. Sound sleep acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory, aids in maintaining memory recall and nerve function, and encourages healthy regulation of metabolism and cellular repair. Research has shown that people that have on average 6 hours sleep or less are more likely to suffer from elevated inflammatory biomarkers, hormonal imbalances, reduced mood and insulin resistance.
According to Dr Mathew, author of the International Bestseller, “Why We Sleep”, research shows that ensuring an average of 8 hours of good quality sleep significantly improves learning, mood, and energy levels; regulates hormones; prevents cancer, Alzheimer’s, obesity and diabetes; slows the effects of ageing and increases longevity.
Happiness, misery, nourishment, emaciation, strength, weakness, virility, sterility, knowledge, ignorance, life and death – all these occur depending on the proper and improper sleep. Like the night of destructions, untimely and excessive sleep and prolonged vigil take away both happiness and longevity. The same sleep if properly enjoyed brings about happiness and longevity in human beings as well as real knowledge brings about Siddhi (spiritual power) in a Yogin. (Ca.Sutra 21:26-38)
To ensure a sounds nights sleep limit caffeine intake to the mornings, avoid alcohol completely, limit the use of bright lighting after sunset and keep your evening meal light and easily digestible. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try infusing your bedroom with jasmine or lavender essential oils.
Alternate nostril breathing (nadi shodhana - add link) and yoga nidra can also help to induce proper relaxation before bed. L-tryptophan, L-theanine and various ayurvedic herbs have been shown to be effective, however be sure to consult your health care professional before taking supplements and herbal medicines.
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