Sleep Your Way to Success!
Sleep is the new sex. Literally. There is a fascinating survey from The Better Sleep Council that shows 79% of women crave sleep more than they crave sex. Apparently, 58% of men crave sex over sleep. Shocker, right? Some men would beg to differ, however, because they are often equally exhausted at the end of the day. Simply stated, there is a massive depletion of sleep in our society today. The reality of sleep deprivation is that it’s taking a heavy toll on more than just people’s energy levels.
Lack of sleep has been shown time and time again to contribute to the following:
- Weight Gain/Obesity
- Increased risk of chronic diseases
- Lower immune function
- Memory loss
- Elevated heart rates
- Inflammation and Illness
- Increased risk of accidents while driving, working, etc.
The Harvard Medical School published an article about sleep and health, stating that people who sleep less than six hours a night on a regular basis are prone to greater inflammation in the body. It goes on to say a lack of quality sleep can lead to higher risk of cardiovascular disease, infections, and type 2 Diabetes. Typing in the phrase sleep deprivation to a search engine will reveal endless pages of content. The question is, if we know about the essential need for sleep, why do people push themselves to the brink of sleeplessness?
The answer lies somewhere between fear and organization.
Fear that if we don’t finish a project or don’t participate in an event, we will somehow be less than or left behind. Organization is a double-edged circumstance here because it’s nearly impossible to be organized when we are exhausted. However, in order to end our day at a reasonable hour while feeling accomplished, organization is a vital tool.
Dreaming is key!
When we don’t sleep well, we don’t dream. Dreaming is crucial for information processing, memory, and emotional healing. There is a great deal of evidence showing that lack of dreaming, also known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) has long term negative effects on the nervous system.
Let’s get to the nitty gritty, so we have energy left for the real “nitty gritty.” Sleeping our way to success is the goal here.
How much sleep do we need and what steps should we take to sleep better?
Ideally adults need 7-9 hours of restful sleep per night. There are many great tips for a better, longer, night’s sleep.
Try to fall asleep by 10:00 pm.
The hours between 10:00 pm and midnight offer the deepest period of dream sleep. The later we fall asleep, the more off balance our circadian rhythm becomes.
Be organized about sleep.
Just as you are for other calendared events. For instance, when possible, schedule 9:00 pm as your cut off time for housework.
Limit eating and drinking fluids 2 hours prior to bedtime.
We want our body to rest and repair instead of working to digest food in the middle of the night or waking often to go to the bathroom.
Aim to stretch, breathe, pray, or meditate for 10 minutes before getting into bed.
This can go a very long way in the body. Just as relaxing is key, avoiding screen time late at night is a great way to ensure quality rest. Our pituitary glands are stimulated when we are in front of computers and phones, making our body believe it’s daylight.
Let’s take a moment to consider how much more productive we can be when we are rested. Honestly, how do any of us function at a high level when we are exhausted? Trust yourself, when you get the proper amount of quality dream sleep, every task will be done more efficiently. Most likely, people will want to be around us more as well. Our bodies are precious. We are worth it. Make yourself a priority now, and the chances are strong you won’t be forced to sleep in the one place you want to avoid…the hospital.