“Sleep is essential for the body to recover and regenerate.” —Dr. Fabrizio Mancini
Just as activity is healing, so is sleep. During sleep, your body repairs damage caused by stress or environmental toxins, and sorts out memories from the day. When you get less than six or seven hours of sleep each night, your risk for developing diseases begins to increase, blood pressure increases, and excess stress hormones are pumped out. (Be sure that your bedroom is dark; darkness helps your body produce melatonin.) You get caught in a bad cycle.
On the other hand, adequate sleep energizes you. It helps your internal systems (such as your immune system) be more alert and alive. Helps you to remember and process things better. It may even help you to lose weight as people who get fewer than seven hours of sleep a night are more likely to put on weight.
Studies show that a lack of sleep impacts the balance of hormones in the body that affect appetite. Adequate sleep also lifts your mood by allowing your body to produce enough serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical.
Here’s how I suggest you improve your sleep habits:
- Eat at least three to four hours before going to bed, allowing your food time to digest.
- Cut back on caffeine or nicotine on a daily basis, especially after 3:00 p.m.
- Create a soothing sleeping environment—no messy bedroom or television blaring with violent shows.
- Meditate or read for a few minutes at bedtime (although I don’t recommend reading murder mysteries or thrillers).
- Discuss sleep issues with your health-care provider, and ask for advice.
- Do deep breathing, and think relaxing thoughts while lying in bed.
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If you’re interested in learning how to unlock your self-healing powers in 21 days, please click here to take a look at Dr Fabrizio’s fantastic new book “The Power of Self-Healing”.
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Lavie, P. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism; vol 87: pp 3394-3398.
Girardeau, G. Nature Neuroscience, October 2009.
Read more on the Active Healing Chapter on The Power of Self-Healing (Hay House).