When last did you get a good night’s sleep? We need our rest! Studies have shown that people who get on average less than eight hours a night are more likely to develop chronic health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and obesity. Not to mention shortening your life expectancy. In our busy lives we are constantly pushing to do more and more. Neglecting to get good restful sleep is a sure way to get sick.
Many of us have ‘trained’ our bodies to get used to less sleep. And our amazing bodies learned to adapt to that. But over the years sleep deprivation takes its toll. We need to get good sleep, the type that allows our bodies to restore and heal the wear and tear that we put it through. We need to get the continuous sleep that allows our brains to sort out our hectic lives, and defrag our hard drives. Those of us who work shifts or overnight are constantly punishing our bodies, and unfortunately our bodies will let us know this sooner or later.
They call it sleep hygiene, the habits that will help to induce a good night’s sleep. Experts say we need to avoid large meals, caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and exercise before we go to sleep. They also say that staring at bright screens (TV, computers, tablets etc.) interferes with melatonin production, which is responsible for regulating our sleep-wake cycle. They also tell us we need to stop using our bedrooms as our office/dining room/ leisure space, since our brains then stop associating our bed with sleep.
So before you reach for over the counter sleep aids, or the pick-me-ups to make it through the day, look at your sleep hygiene. Are you going to bed at the same time every day? And if it is your brain that is responsible for keeping you up, try using a relaxation technique to turn off that ever chattering mind. There are CD’s with guided imagery messages, or with soothing sounds that can help to calm down those thoughts that have you jumping up when you should be sleeping. Clearing your mind may be hard to do, but the concerns that keep you awake will still be there in the morning, and a good night’s sleep may bring the solution that your waking mind cannot find.
Hopefully these tips are helpful and will enable you to achieve your dreams. Like the lobster fisherman who taught himself to read at age 98, and has now written a book. James Arruda Henry left school after third grade to help his family, and had never learned to read and write. The article I read says that one of his inspirations was the story of George Dawson, the grandson of a slave, who also learned to read at age 98. Often we overlook the many advantages we have, and instead of finding ways to multiply our talents we bury them.
So get some good restorative sleep, allow your body to heal and protect you so that you can go out and be the amazing person you are supposed to be! Let’s all have a long and healthy life, and make the most of everything we have.
Have a great weekend family!