It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.
— John Steinbeck
Make an effort to treat yourself to at least seven hours of sleep each night, while using the sleep tips below. At the end of the week note the terrific results.
The timing to present the “S” in Enthusiastic Living is perfect, as getting more sleep is one of my self care goals I set in last weeks Goals Workshop. Even though I love to sleep and can fall asleep at the drop of a hat, my sleep habits are very poor.
While in college I was accused of being “part cat” because I fell asleep in any position and at any time. For example, I’ve fallen asleep in airplanes, cars (even while driving), and buses; as well as on couches, chairs, bleachers and rocks. I’ve even fallen asleep in movie theaters, watching broadway plays, and a live stunt show at Disney World. Finally, in a chemistry class at the University of Texas, I was nudged by a handsome male classmate to be informed that I was snoring. Needless to say, that was not a proud moment!
Yes, I am a ridiculously good sleeper but unfortunately it’s not because I’m part cat, rather it’s because I’ve been sleep-deprived my whole life. For as long as I can remember I’ve burned the candle at both ends, which is a genetic trait from both my mom and grandmother. We are notorious for going 90 miles a minute until we crash and burn. Sadly, my grandmother, who was an enthusiastic angel on earth, suffered from diabetes and developed stomach cancer. As a result, she passed away in her late sixties. I can’t help but conclude that sleep deprivation contributed to her diseases and early death; and as much as I do want to follow in many of her beautiful footsteps, sleep deprivation is not one of them, as it leads to many preventable health risks.
Furthermore, when I look at the many times I consistently do not get enough sleep I am irritable, impatient, and gravitate towards sweets and carbohydrates. It’s an unhealthy cycle with adverse results and I feel confident that most of us suffer from sleep deprivation. We live in a tremendously fast paced, over achieving, and stimulating society which makes guilt-free, satisfying and REM sleep very difficult. After researching information on sleep, it became quickly apparent that sleep is linked to everything that enables us to live an enthusiastic long life (or not) and disturbingly enough, I am breaking about 75% of healthy sleep rules! Take 5 minutes to look over this week’s Weekly Intention Guide and the check-list of self-care activities that may inspire your physical, mental and spiritual goals this week.
So, in pursuit of living an enthusiastic long life, I’ve included enlightening and critical information from the Cooper Clinic and Web, MD. I am sure you are familiar with much of the information, however it’s always good to be reminded how something as simple as sleep can make a monumental impact on your life.
Results of Sleep Deprivation
- Weakened Immune System– The less sleep you get, the weaker your immune system is, leaving it less able to fight off colds, flu, and other infections.
- Increased risk of heart disease– When you don’t get enough sleep, you have an inflammatory response in your cardiovascular system — in the blood vessels and arteries.
- Increased risk of Diabetes– When you’re sleep deprived, your body almost immediately develops conditions that resemble the insulin resistance of diabetes.
- Poor mental health and brain function– Studies have found that people who aren’t getting enough sleep drive just as unsafely as someone who’s drunk. The memory is also slightly degraded when you’re sleep deprived, and gets worse the more deprivation you have.
- Increased risk of obesity– People who slept five hours per night were 73% more likely to become obese than those getting seven to nine nightly hours of sleep. One study found that lack of sleep was a bigger contributor to childhood obesity than any other factor.
The Link Between Sleep and Your Appearance
- Growth hormones peak during deep sleep and contribute to cell and tissue repair. Restless, intermittent sleep can interrupt that process.
- Collagen 1 production is accelerated during sleep, and collagen helps keep moisture in our skin. When your skin is dehydrated, it looks less youthful and supple, more dull and dry.
- Our deepest stage of sleep, known as delta sleep, is the time when the body’s growth hormones kick-start the repair of cells and tissues.
- Suppressing the immune system doesn’t just mean you’re more likely to catch a cold. Your skin is affected too, and you may be more likely to get rashes like psoriasis.
Tips from the National Sleep Foundation: How to get 7 to 8 Hours of sleep per night.
- Establish consistent sleep and wake schedules, even on weekends
- Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music – begin an hour or more before the time you expect to fall asleep.
- Exercise regularly during the day or at least a few hours before bedtime
- Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol products close to bedtime and give up smoking
- Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
- Use your bedroom only for sleep and “extracurricular activities” (keep “sleep stealers” out of the bedroom – avoid watching TV, using a computer or reading in bed)
Just think, if we can adopt some of the above-mentioned sleep tips and combine them with seven hours of sleep per night, regular exercise AND a healthy diet….its possible that we will have found the fountain of youth, live an incredibly enthusiastic long life and won’t have to deal with sleep tactics such as the one shown in this weeks video below. Here’s to a restful and wonderful week!
JOIN THE DISCUSSION-What’s YOUR favorite benefit of getting a good night’s sleep?
My favorite thing about it is how much more patient I am…- Landry