How’d you sleep last night? Reasons for sleeplessness may differ yet strategies for successful sleep often bear remarkable similarities. Before you hire a sleep specialist though, why not try tactics that calm the brain and come without side effects of medicine.
You’ll likely sleep better and enhance REM if you:
- Remain upbeat and use sleepless spaces to relax and listen to classical music which slows racing brainwaves.
- Retire about the same time nightly when possible.
- Create a comfortable setting to sleep, without distractions such as TV or computers.
- Set aside problems from work or relationships and list solution possibilities long before sleeping – with a more relaxed mind.
- Stop eating heavy foods several hours before lights go out for the night.
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine or alcohol before bed.
- Exercise earlier in the day, then avoid rigorous work outs near bedtime.
- Lower blinds and draw curtains to maintain darkness in sleep area. Dark areas increase your melatonin levels, the brain chemical that causes and sustains sleep.
What do you do to ensure you sleep well enough to put you in a good mood at work the next day?
Sleep comes from slower waves:
Sleep requires slower brainwaves than peak performances compels. It’s the flip side of your mind energized by fast moving brain waves – called beta waves. Start to daydream during a lecture, or a boring meeting, for instance, and your brain waves shift down a gear to alpha brain waves.
You’re likely still awake when speakers drone on, yet your waves would register lower on an EEG, which is a reading that measures brain waves by hooking electrodes to several points on your head. How so?
Move down one level lower to theta waves and your body relaxes, heart rate and respiration lower slightly, and your mind tends to move back and forth between creative energy and deep relaxation. Eventually, the lowest brain waves, called delta, kick in, and for awhile the brain moves back and forth between delta and theta movement.
In the first stage of sleep, EEGs show the brain waves slowing down progressively through a thirty minute period. Your brain at that point shifts into REM or rapid eye movement sleep.
Nathaniel Kleitman, discovered in the 1950s, that is REM sleep a person’s eyes flutter rapidly in all directions. In REM stages of sleep people dream, and when woken in that stage you may feel like a Mack truck hit you – but you will likely remember your dreams. Interestingly brain waves at the deepest sleep speed up again – even though the brain remains dormant to conscious thought.
The key is to sustain brain waves suitable for the moment, based on what you hope to accomplish. Easier said than done for a person prone to stress. For example, alpha waves are generated by the relaxed brain, so that you have vivid memories, aha moments, and you feel at peace with the world.
Chemical and electrical activity alters sleep waves:
Serotonin chemicals are released which is characterized by high performance and researchers tell us that when some people begin to move from alpha waves into theta movement, sleep soon follows.
In contrast, the stress hormone cortisol is released in dangerous doses in people who sustain stress in the lives. This can be caused by poor diet, lack of priorities, too little sleep, habits such as meta messages which generate poor relationships, and lack of reflection that helps you grow and progress in daily doses.
Check out Dr. Daniel Amen’s book, CHANGE YOUR BRAIN CHANGE YOUR LIFE, which suggests wonderful ways to tackle anxiety, diminish anger and break obsessions. Then read, Dr. Anna Wise in, THE HIGH PERFORMANCE MIND, to find practical helps for improved creativity, spirituality, and relationships. The third recommended book, A SYMPHONY IN THE BRAIN, by journalist, Jim Robbins, explains the science behind activating brain frequencies you may not normally use.
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