The Importance of Sleep

It is natural during these cold and shortened winter days to have the urge to hibernate. It is actually beneficial to your health to give into this urge and get enough sleep. Get at least seven to eight hours of deep, uninterrupted sleep to maintain good health and a long life.

Bedroom Makeover for Improved Rest
You spend a third of your life sleeping, so it is important to be sure your environment for sleeping is soothing and relaxing. Do whatever is possible to establish a quiet and cozy atmosphere. This means that your bedroom should ideally be located in the quietest and less trafficked area of your home; take steps to soundproof the room if your neighborhood is noisy. The lighting should be dim and any music that is played should be peaceful. Keep the décor minimal, with nothing busy to detract from your sleep. Colors should be in the realm of blues, greens, and grays. Some people are surprised when I recommend that there should be no plants in the bedroom. The reason is that plants give off carbon dioxide and deplete the oxygen in the air you breathe. Also, do not place computers or televisions in your bedroom because they generate electromagnetic fields and positive ions that can induce irritability and agitation.

A Feng Shui Lesson for Your Bedroom
The principle of feng shui is based on the ancient Taoist concept of energetic polarity. Yin and yang are the terms for describing the energy states in the universe, which are both opposite and complementary. If you want to lead a long and healthy life, you would do well to strike a balance between the two polarities. Yin embodies negative electrical charge and contractive energy, and its directions are north—the negative pole, and west, where the sun sets. Yang is characterized by positive electrical charge and expansive energy states, and its directions are south—considered the positive pole, and east, where the sun rises.

Activities in our lives fit into different yin or yang categories. Relaxing activities such as sleeping, reading, and bathing are yin activities. Energetic activities such as exercise, cooking, engaging in hobbies, and studying are yang. This means that your bedroom and bathroom should be located in the northern and western areas of your home, and your office, kitchen, living room, and dining room are best in southern and eastern locations.

Sleep Tight All Night
Quality of sleep is as important as the quantity of sleep. Often we think we sleep for eight hours, but unless we are getting good quality REM sleep, which is when the body truly rests, we will awake feeling as if we hadn’t slept at all. Here are the ways to be sure you are getting quality sleep:

1. Do not eat late. Your last meal should be no later than seven in the evening.

2. Do not exercise just before bed. You should engage in no strenuous exercise for at least two hours before bed.

3. There should be no pets in the bedroom. Sleeping with pets often causes restless sleep.

4. You might try this sitting meditation a half an hour before bed: Sit comfortably at the edge of a firm seat with your back erect and your head tilted slightly downwards. Place your arms gently over your lap and breathe slowly, deliberately, and gently. Keep your eyes slightly closed. Do this for 15-20 minutes.

I hope you sleep well. I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

—Dr. Mao

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This entry was posted in Blog.