Ambient Music for Sleep and meditation - Total Relaxation
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SLEEP DEPRIVATION WILL IMPACT YOUR HEALTH
Up to 70 million Americans are affected by chronic sleep disorders and intermittent sleep problems.
“The shorter you sleep, the shorter your life”
- Matthew Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley
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How Meditation Can Treat Insomnia
If insomnia is at the root of your sleepless nights, it may be worth trying meditation. The deep relaxation technique has been shown to increase sleep time, improve sleep quality, and make it easier to fall (and stay) asleep. These are some key facts about the practice that may help you get over any hesitation about trying it.
It’s safe. Meditation can be a great tool for those looking who are for an all-natural, medication-free way to treat insomnia. In fact, meditation has even been shown to help reduce the use of sleeping pills. The practice likely improves insomnia symptoms by reducing measures of arousal in the brain. And there are no associated risks or side effects to trying meditation.
It can be used with other sleep techniques. Combining cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) with mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve sleep better than CBT-I alone.
There are multiple health benefits. Not only can meditation improve your sleep quality, but it may also help reduce blood pressure and ease pain, anxiety, and depression.
It’s easy. Meditation is an accessible, budget-friendly practice that everyone can try—insomnia sufferers of different ages respond well to the practice, including older adults. Though you can pay for meditative classes and books that teach you the practice, you can also search online for free apps and YouTube videos if you'd like to try it before you spend money on it.
The basics: Start by finding a comfortable place to sit or lie down, and then close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply, directing your attention to your breath as you inhale and exhale. If your mind starts to wander, simply bring your attention back to your breath. You might try doing it for, say, five minutes at a time at first and gradually increasing the amount of time as you get more comfortable with the practice.
What type of sounds do you find relaxing?
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10 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP
TIP 1. SET A BEDTIME ALARM AND STICK TO A CONSISTENT SLEEP ROUTINE.
Your body’s internal clock, a.k.a. your circadian rhythm, plays a key role in regulating your sleep-wake cycle. This clock tells your body when it’s time to wake up in the morning and when to start unwinding at the end of the day.
It’s impacted by melatonin, which takes its cues from the amount of light present in your environment. This is why its very effective turn down the lights and have an hour of wind down time before bedtime.
Make a bedtime ritual and go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. Set an alarm clock 60 min before bedtime.
Turn down the lights, take a warm bath or try to calm down by reading a book or listening to relaxing music or nature sounds. A set sleep routine will train the brain you to fall asleep and wake up more easily. Do this also on the weekends if possible.
TIP 2. GO OUTSIDE FIRST THING IN THE MORNING.
Get at least 30–60 minutes of natural daylight exposure first thing in the morning. Light is the strongest stimulus for regulating a person’s sleep-wake schedule.
The suprachiasmatic nucleus or nuclei (SCN) is a tiny region of the brain in the hypothalamus, situated directly above the optic chiasm. It is responsible for controlling circadian rhythms. The neuronal and hormonal activities it generates regulate many different body functions in a 24-hour cycle, using around 20,000 neurons.
It doesn’t matter if it’s cloudy or sunshine, the key is to trick the brain into a new morning routine. Don’t put shades on because it will diminish the light reset function in your body clock.
TIP 3. DON'T DRINK COFFEE OR CAFFEINE AFTER 1 PM.
Caffeine is what we call a psychoactive stimulant. For some people, a single cup of coffee in the morning means a sleepless night.
If you give someone a standard dose of one cup of coffee in the evening, 200 milligrams of caffeine, the amount of deep sleep that they have is reduced by 20%.
You would normally have to age and individual by 10 or 15 years to drop your deep sleep quality by 20%.
Caffeine has a half-life of about six or seven hours and half-life simply means the amount of time it takes for a 50% of the drug still be in your system or 50% of it to be cleared. Caffeine has a quarter-life of about 12 hours.
So if you have a cup of coffee at noon, it's the equivalent of getting into bed at midnight. And just before you turn out the lights, you sip a quarter of a cup of Starbucks and you hope for a good night of sleep.
TIP 4. BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE. GET YOUR SWEAT ON!
Regular aerobic exercise like walking, running, or swimming provides three important sleep benefits: you'll fall asleep faster, attain a higher percentage of restorative deep sleep, and awaken less often during the night.
By exercising in the morning, you will get the juices flowing by releasing endorphins into your blood and get the muscles pumping. By jump-starting your body, you tell it that the new day has started.
Your cortisol levels will also rise and help you stay alert, energized and awake. If you go for a jog outside, you also will be exposed to daylight!
Working out is generally a good remedy for sleeping problems because by wearing out your body in the day you’ll get more tired and sleepy in the evening.
TIP 5. LIMIT DAYTIME NAPS AFTER 3 PM.
Prolonged napping can disrupt your natural sleep cycle and prevent you from feeling tired enough to fall asleep.
TIP 6. EAT HEALTHY AND AT REGULAR TIMES
Food is just as powerful a trigger as light is. Avoid large meals and beverages at late night hours. Recent studies have shown that your eating schedule is correlated with how your body clock works.
According to a study published in May 2017, people who don’t get enough sleep eat, on average, 385 kcal more than usual with significantly less protein and more fat. These individuals also experienced a heightened motivation to seek food for reward.
So, try to eat at regular local times and not when your body craves food.
TIP 7. MYTH BUSTED - DROP THE NIGHTCAP
Alcohol is probably the most misunderstood sleep aid or sleep drug. Alcohol is a class of drugs that we call the sedatives. And sedation is not sleep. Because what alcohol is simply doing is masking a problem that you're not dealing with.
Alcohol will litter your sleep with many more awakenings throughout the night, making it more fragmented.
The final part of alcohol is that it's one of the best chemicals that we know for suppressing REM sleep. So when you drink alcohol, what you're doing is sedating your cortex.
You're just knocking yourself out. And that's why you think of that you fall asleep faster.
TIP 8. CLEAN YOUR BEDROOM AND TURN OF THE BLUE LIGHT DEVICES.
Remove the television, telephone, and any other devices that radiate blue light from the bedroom. Although it is environmentally friendly, blue light can affect your sleep and potentially cause sleep diseases.
Try to avoid looking at bright screens beginning two to three hours before bedtime. Use night mode on your phone or computer.
Not all colors of light have the same effect. Blue wavelengths, which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood, seem to be the most disruptive at night. And the proliferation of electronics with screens, as well as energy-efficient lighting, is increasing our exposure to blue wavelengths, especially after sundown.
Use dim red lights for night lights. Red light has the least power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin.
Keep you bedroom clean, and try to leave your worries at the bedroom door. An ideal environment is quiet, dark, and relatively cool, with a comfortable bed and minimal clutter.
TIP 9. DON'T LIE IN BED AWAKE. USE THE BED ONLY FOR SLEEP AND SEX.
If you're still awake after about 20 minutes in bed, get up and do some relaxing activity until you feel sleepy. Otherwise, you'll set yourself up for tossing and turning. The mind will then remember the bedroom as a place where you find it hard to sleep.
TIP 10. TRY TO AVOID TAKING SLEEPING PILLS.
If you are using anything to help you sleep, I think you have to ask yourself, are you just really treating an open wound and not really actually trying to stitch it up?
If you do take a prescription sleep medicine, work with your doctor to use it effectively and for as short a time as possible.
What Is ASMR?
ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response - although those who have experienced it might call it the brain orgasm. It's a very pleasant tingly sensation, which many people experience as a reaction to certain visual or auditory stimuli. However, it's entirely non-sexual in nature and can be experienced by people of all ages.
What Does ASMR Actually Feel Like?
People describe ASMR as a brain orgasm, and that's certainly no exaggeration. Generally, it starts at the back of the neck, or in the scalp, then it spreads down the spine and diffuses into the nervous system as a wave of pleasure. This pleasurable feeling is affectionately known, as the tingles. Afterwards you'll be left in an extremely calm state, just like a deep meditation. Most people who can experience ASMR will probably have triggered it by accident, during childhood. The first time I experienced it was when my teacher gently touched the top of my head, while counting all the pupils in our classroom. I would have been about 8 years old at the time - I still remember my hair sticking up and a very strange tingly feeling down the back of my neck.
Other typical scenarios for accidental triggers are hair salons, listening to someone with a soft voice or watching someone quietly manipulating an object, such as unscrewing a makeup container. Triggering intense tingles takes practice and is very similar to meditation in some ways. It's easiest to experience ASMR if you're lying down alone, without any loud noises going on around you. A bit like sensory deprivation, except for whatever ASMR video you're listening to. ASMR artists create thousands of different videos to intentionally trigger the tingles in different people. Every person is unique and therefore gets triggered by different types of sounds or visual stimuli, such as tapping, scratching, whispering or eating sounds and much, much more.