I know what you’re thinking! Is she crazy? When am I supposed to find time to do that? Well, here’s what I suggest. We all schedule so much into our days, evenings and life in general. I’m asking you to schedule some sleep and here’s why.
First, sleep is as important as exercise and the food you eat. In fact, if you find sleeping difficult the foods you choose and the exercise you do can improve your sleep. Did you know it should only take you 10-15 minutes to fall asleep at night? WHAT? That’s right! When is the last time you fell asleep that quickly?
Healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep to perform their best. Some people can perform with only 6 hours, but some people need 10 to be fully functional! If you work shift work, you are at an increased risk for a variety of illnesses as the body NEVER adjusts to shift work.
Did you know that if you are chronically sleep deprived you are at a higher risk for developing obesity? Your appetite is increased because of an imbalance between the hormones Leptin and Ghrelin. When this imbalance is regularly occurring, your appetite increases.
Sleep deprivation decreases your memory. If you are trying to learn something new the best idea is to practice your new skill and increase your sleep. In children, improved sleep is proven to improve their grades as well as sharpen their attention!
Lack of sleep promotes inflammation in the body. This can have a great impact on people already at risk of inflammatory related issues like heart disease and stroke. It’s also hard on people with inflammatory conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease. Did you know that sleeping on your belly/front can improve digestion?
During the cold and flu season sleep is important as it affects your immune system. T-cells, important for fighting off viruses are decreased, and immune function is suppressed. The immune system also has to work harder when there is increased inflammation in the body from lack of sleep making it harder to fight off pathogens.
So, what do we do to improve our sleep? Let’s go back to the beginning of the challenge as each one of the suggestions that have come before this one can improve your sleep. But there is more that will help for the days you have off over the holidays. Try not to stuff yourself with sugary treats late at night. Avoid caffeine in the afternoons and evenings. Make your bedroom as dark as possible. Go to sleep when you are tired. Don’t stay up just to watch one more TV show (screen time works against sleep) or because you feel obligated to visit with house guests. Go. To. Bed. In the morning, wake up when your body tells you it’s time. Believe me, I have kids, I know how difficult this is going to be! But between you and your spouse maybe you each get to pick a few days to sleep in? Try to get as much sleep over the holidays as you can so that you can start 2018 rested and refreshed. Your body will thank you by keeping you healthy over the holidays!
Thanks for all your comments! I am enjoying reading about your journey thus far! Keep it up!! I can’t wait to see who makes it all the way to Day 31!! I appreciate your support! I am in this with you! See you tomorrow!