How to Improve Your Quality of Life Without Spending a Dime
Updated: Feb 14
Outside of my work as an acupuncturist and herbalist, I'm a bit of a bookworm. There's a whole world out there with endless experiences/knowledge/wisdom to discover and it really excites me! I hope to share more ideas with you all in a more personal way.
Recently, I picked up a read that has changed my perception on health, wellbeing and how we can live a wholehearted, full life. The author doesn't disclose some grand meditation practice or mantra that you must chant every day in order to feel more balanced. To clarify-- I'm also not scoffing at meditation (I'm actually an advocate for it!) but there's a much more simple, natural solution to improve wellbeing and we're all hardwired to do it.
It's sleep! And a full, regular dose of it. Sleep is such an obvious option yet it's widely misunderstood and undervalued. Plus, it costs us little to nothing to do it and can even make us more with a refreshed, well slept mind.
Thanks to Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker, PhD and Director of UC Berkeley's Center for Human Sleep Science, I really understand the power of "a good night's sleep" and how our sleeping habits pretty much affect everything we experience.
Walker details the neurobiological processes, different sleep stages and their benefits as well as habits that can influence our quality of sleep. He also presents some pretty curious case studies that are neatly footnoted for further reading and understanding.
Turns out that sleep has the ability to:
-- Regulate metabolic processes such as weight gain/rehabilitation of muscle mass
-- Configure new and old memories (as well as sleep's influence on Alzheimer's and dementia)
-- Formulate new ideas and encouraging creative expression
-- Strengthen social bonds and relationships (there's actually an amazing case study on human detection of threat following sleep deprivation- I won't spoil it here though)
-- Fight off heart disease and obesity
-- Induce dreaming as a potential form of therapy
Walker dives into deeper detail about how these processes work and I highly recommend this read to anyone searching to improve their sleeping habits and general quality of living. He even includes an appendix at the end with tips for better sleep.