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Get sufficient sleep every single night...

Getting sufficient, restful, rejuvenating sleep every night is absolutely essential if you want to maintain your hair in the best possible condition and maximise its rate of growth, because sleep is the time in which your body devotes itself most exclusively to the repair, maintenance and development of all of the trillions of cells in your body, including those in your hair, using all of the nutritional inputs that youíve ingested via your diet.  When you sleep at night, your body makes full use at its leisure of the nutritious dinner you ate earlier in the evening and which youíre well on the way to digesting by the time you go to sleep.

Itís very easy to substantiate the powerful, positive effect that sufficient, restful, rejuvenating sleep has on your hair because a lack of it will leave your hair frazzled, limp and lifeless when you wake up in the morning.  Weíve all experienced it.  When weíre short on sleep after waking up and we feel like weíve been dragged through a field, our hair broadcasts the tiredness we feel loud and clear with its dishevelled appearance.  It looks like it wants to go back to sleep too.  On the contrary, when we have sufficient, restful, rejuvenating sleep, we wake up to see our hair thick, standing up on our heads and alert, because itís been powerfully conditioned by the process of regeneration that our entire body has undergone during the night.

Getting sufficient, restful, rejuvenating sleep isnít something you should plan on getting just every once in a while.  Sleep is an absolutely indispensable part of your life.  The scientists who did a study claiming that sleep isnít really that necessary and that you can survive without much of it clearly had an ulterior motive, which I suspect was to degrade the health and wellness of the people who read their study and acted on their claim by reducing their sleep.  The scientists probably had no hair either, because it had all fallen out due to lack of sleep.

The unit of life is one single day, since it involves waking up, which is analogous to being born, and going to sleep, which is analogous to dying.  Since the unit of life is one single day, itís very important that you make a concerted effort to take the best possible care of your body each and every day.  This includes getting sufficient, restful, rejuvenating sleep each and every day.  We all know that this is what we really need.  The reason we often donít achieve this is that we havenít accepted the reality of how indispensable sleep is, so we encroach on the time we should be spending sleeping in order to try to get more things done each day.  Or we encroach on the time we should be spending sleeping just by wasting time, staying up late, watching somebody elseís life being played out on television (which I havenít watched since the middle of 2003) or reading about somebody elseís life on the internet.  This is generally because weíre trying to anaesthetise the emotional pain we feel from wounds in years gone by that still plague us.  The reasons we cut ourselves short on sleep are very powerful reasons which draw us in, but they donít lead us to a better place and a better day.  A large part of the answer to arriving at a better place and a better day is getting sufficient, restful, rejuvenating sleep so that weíll be able to work with more agility and efficiency during the day to accomplish the things we need to and so that weíll be in a better frame of mind to deal with the negative emotional effects of past wounds which threaten to derail us.

So what is a sufficient amount of restful, rejuvenating sleep?  For an adult aged eighteen years or older, who has made it their practice to eat well and exercise daily, so that their body operates efficiently, I strongly believe that a sufficient amount of sleep is 7.75 hours each night.  This requires getting into bed 8 hours before youíre due to wake up and taking 0.25 hours (ie. 15 minutes) to fall asleep so that you get a full 7.75 hours of sleep.  For the person who is building their body each day through a nutritionally-nourishing diet and through exercise, theyíll soon find that they come to a place where their body doesnít need more than 7.75 hours of sleep to keep themselves in optimal health.  This is good news, because who among us really wants to spend more than 7.75 hours sleeping each night when there are so many fascinating things in life to be involved in?  To be sure, an essential skill for getting sufficient sleep each night is to recognise that we canít be involved in everything Ė there are simply not enough hours in the day Ė and that we need to concentrate exclusively on those things that will lead us towards our goals in life Ė gravitating around the people we love, the skills we want to acquire, the things we need to do and the things we want to do.  However, itís still obvious that itís much more interesting being awake than asleep, so getting into a routine of limiting our time in bed each night to 7.75 hours will see us getting the most out of this amazing life that God has graciously given to us.

The easiest way by far to get into a routine of getting sufficient restful, rejuvenating sleep each night is to go to bed at exactly the same time every night, including Saturday night and Sunday night on the weekend.  That way, your body knows exactly what to expect and youíll be ready to fall asleep at the same time each night.  Of course, this is easier said than done.  Youíll only obtain the benefits that this habit will yield, if you discipline yourself to make sufficient sleep and going to bed at the same time every night a higher priority than whatever activity you happen to be in the middle of when the time rolls around for you to get ready for bed, which is generally fifteen minutes before youíre due to hit the sack.  It can be very challenging to tear ourselves away from whatever activity weíre in the middle of and go to sleep instead.  This will often involve leaving something half-finished, which grates against our natural inclination towards orderliness.  However, if we donít live our lives leaving everything to the last minute, then weíll be able to leave our tasks half-finished at night, knowing that weíve still got time to complete them in the days ahead.  Our reward for this discipline and restraint is to obtain sufficient, restful, rejuvenating sleep, which is so beneficial to our health and well-being.  It sets us up to be raring to go the next day.  Over time, weíll even get better at only embarking on those tasks at night that we know we can complete before weíre due to go to bed, and weíll feel more comfortable about making realistic contributions at night to some small part of a long-term project, which isnít going to be completed until several months have passed.

The answer to the question of when the best time to go to sleep is revolves around the importance of physical exercise.  Physical exercise is such an essential part of life, that I recommend that you engage in it every day except for Saturday, the day of rest, alternating between muscular exercise one day and aerobic exercise the next.  However, physical exercise at night is going to imperil your chances of getting sufficient, restful, rejuvenating sleep, because itís going to dramatically stimulate your body so that youíll have enormous difficulty in falling asleep later on when youíre lying in bed.  It will also stimulate your body so dramatically that when you do finally fall asleep, your sleep will be light instead of deep and will be of limited benefit to your health and wellness.  For this reason, the best time to engage in physical exercise is in the early morning, at the very start of your day, before you eat breakfast.

A significant benefit of exercising in the early morning before breakfast is that by the time you go to sleep at night, youíll be sufficiently tired from all of the dayís activities, together with your exercise at the start of the day, that youíll fall asleep straight away and have a good, restful, rejuvenating sleep.  The alternative to this is lying awake when you know you really should be sleeping and suffering the degenerative effects of insomnia, which is everybodyís worst nightmare in todayís busy world.  The solution to insomnia is very simple.  Exercise in the early morning before breakfast, six mornings each week, alternating between weight-training one morning for your muscular exercise and running, jogging or walking the next morning for your aerobic exercise.

Now everything falls into place and itís easy to deduce the time at which you should go to sleep each night.  Exercising in the early morning before breakfast means setting aside 50 minutes from 6:05 am to 6:55 am to do so, so that you can get ready for the dayís activities between 6:55 am and 7:45 am.  Starting exercise at 6:05 am means waking up at 5:00 am so that you have time to use the bathroom, read the Bible from 5:15 am to 6:05 am, drink 500 mL of reverse osmosis-purified water and consume a 30-gram scoop of whey protein (mixed with water in a protein shaker) in preparation for the physical demands of exercise.  It also gives you a full hour before exercising for your body to adjust to being up and vertical, as opposed to asleep and horizontal in bed.  If youíre going to wake up at 5:00 am and you need to get 7.75 hours of sleep each night, this means going to bed each night at 9:00 pm and taking 0.25 hours (15 minutes) to fall asleep.  So thereís the answer!  9:00 pm is the time you need to get into bed each night, which means dropping whatever youíre doing fifteen minutes earlier at 9:00 pm to get ready for bed by brushing your teeth, flossing them, drinking 500 mL of reverse osmosis purified-water and doing whatever else you need to do before retiring to sleep.

Unexpected noises throughout the night while youíre lying in bed asleep, such as a squirrel running across the roof of your house or a car racing noisily past your house, can seriously impede the quality of your sleep by waking you up in the middle of the night.  Itís counterproductive to be woken up out of a deep sleep thatís powerfully regenerating your body by some random noise which you have absolutely no control over.  However, this is actually completely avoidable by wearing earplugs while you sleep.  I sleep with 27 decibel earplugs in my ears to block out noise and I can still easily hear the alarm clock in the morning.  With earplugs of this rating, you can still hear your spouse talking to you in bed if you have one and understand what theyíre saying, itís just that the volume of their voice is reduced.  By wearing earplugs each night while sleeping, you can ensure that you enjoy restful, uninterrupted sleep every night.  The squirrels can scurry across your roof all they like and antisocial drivers can gun their engines as much as they like in the middle of the night.  Youíre not going to wake up.  Youíll continue to sleep peacefully.

The earplugs I use are inexpensive, reusable earplugs.  Alternatively, high-quality, soft, foam earplugs which donít hurt the insides of your ears like the larger, harder, lower-quality, rubber earplugs are also available.  You just twirl each one into a cone using your fingers and push each one slowly into each ear so that thereís a little bit protruding and you can still grip the edge of them with your fingers and pull them out the next morning.  You can purchase these earplugs in a box of two hundred (200) so that you pay a reasonable price per earplug as a result of buying in bulk.  Furthermore, one pair of earplugs can be used for two nights in a row and stored in a dedicated location in-between, so that a box of two hundred (200) earplugs lasts you an entire year.  This is convenient and economical because it means that you only have to purchase them once each year.

Itís also useful to wear a black eye mask while sleeping, in order to block out any unwelcome light, such as the light from a full moon that finds its way in through the curtains across your window, in spite of your best efforts to keep it out.  Unwelcome light while youíre sleeping can make it difficult for your body to enter that deep, restful state of rejuvenating and regenerating sleep.  It makes sense to wear a black eye mask so that thereís absolutely no chance of any light penetrating your translucent eyelids, which are designed to allow light to pass through them and reach your eyeballs, especially when youíre younger.  This is substantiated by the orange-red color you see when you lie sunbathing on a beach on a bright, sunny day with your eyes closed.  The light from the sun still passes through your translucent eyelids to reach your eyeballs.

Sufficient, restful, rejuvenating sleep is absolutely indispensable if you want to improve or maintain your health and wellness.  It has a powerful effect on the growth and health of your hair.  Your sleep is so important to your overall health, that it makes sense to implement simple strategies to ensure that you can get sufficient, restful, rejuvenating sleep every single night.  This kind of quality sleep is also the backbone of resilience and vitality, so donít be surprised if it leaves you with a spring in your step, exhibiting spontaneous enthusiasm in the course of your dayís activities.

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Copyright 2013 Andrew Mackinnon.  All rights reserved.