Health and wellness isn’t merely the absence of disease but rather the presence of awareness that comes from a balanced state of being, a cohesion of mind/body/spirit. Resting the mind, replenishing the body, and rejuvenating the soul provides the optimal synergy for health and wellness. And it all begins with a good night’s rest.
But do I really need 8-hours of sleep?
The National Sleep Association conducted control studies and concluded that adults ages 18-64 needed 7-9 hours. In contrast, adults 64 and over required 7-8 hours. Nevertheless, just getting the recommended dosage doesn’t guarantee that we’re entering the optimal healing zone of Delta sleep. It’s that state when our body repairs itself. During my recovery, I recall a vibrating sensation each night as I slipped into the zone, and imagined it was a crew of Pacmen-like cells in miner’s hats, firing up their jackhammers preparing to go to work on my body while I slept.
While researchers are still debating the benefits each stage of sleep has on an individual, most agree that Delta brain wave activity (SWS) is the most restorative. Since everyone’s sleep patterns vary, how do we know if we’re getting Delta wave sleep? I know when I’ve caught the backdoor of a Delta wave. I wake with my face buried in a drool-soaked pillow. The experts contend that the most effective avenue is eliminating—or at the very least minimizing—stress levels and the intake of stimulants before bedtime, like sugar, coffee, and alcohol. The other area is visual stimulants, like the TV and computer. Another is light. Melatonin only secretes at night or when we’re exposed to total darkness. Even the low-light of your digital clock can affect the body’s release of melatonin. So before retiring, turn off the TV and computers, take a quiet moment for meditation, and enjoy a good night’s rest.
Sleep. It does a mind and body good.