Sleep is nature’s nurse. When we limit its role in our lives, we can’t fully enjoy the benefits that regular, restful sleep provides. Even one night of inadequate sleep can ruin our mood, impair our judgment and sour our interactions with everyone else.
Sleeplessness can leave you feeling mentally blurry and irritable—serious problems themselves—but it can also disturb your appetite regulation, contributing to weight gain and ultimately, the problems associated with obesity. Sleeplessness has also been linked to heart disease, increased inflammation (which can lead to cancer), and a 50 percent increase in your risk of viral infection.
Sleep is your body’s way of restoring organ function, stabilizing chemical imbalance, refreshing areas of the brain that control mood and behavior, and improving your overall physical performance. During the day, your brain is too occupied to process everything, so it uses sleep as a chance to replenish spent nutrients, repair its circuitry, and process the experiences that you had during the day.
Creating a Lifestyle of Sleep
Organizing Your Life Around Rest
It may seem odd to suggest that you organize your life around going to bed, but that’s the reality of what it takes to have healthy, restorative sleep. From the moment your alarm goes off, you begin to make choices that will affect your ability to rest at night.
Here is what Dr.A has outlined as a typical day full of Habits of Healthy Sleep to give you a model to incorporate into your own life.
1. Abandon the snooze button. Wake up right away and get into bright sunlight. If the sun isn’t up yet, turn on your lights.
2. Coffee can be a part of a healthy morning routine as long as you don’t have it with sugar, which can over stimulate your body too early. Avoid having coffee, or any other kind of caffeine, after noon.
3. Set aside some time to exercise. Exercising later in the day is fine as long as you do it before 6 p.m. to avoid feeling restless when you close your eyes to sleep.
4. Do your best to avoid long naps. If you need a boost, take a five-minute power nap instead.
5. When you leave work, wind down in preparation for your bedtime. Avoid checking email or checking your messages from work. Relax. Enjoy a hobby or spend time with your family.
6. Set your bedtime, and stick to it, counting back seven hours from when you need to wake up to determine the ideal start to your sleep latency period, or falling-asleep time.
7. With a bedtime set, establish a routine and don’t deviate from it, even on weekends. Changing your behaviors, even for a few days, can sabotage your sleep. Have a nice cup of relaxing tea.
8. Minimize other liquid intake two hours before you sleep to keep yourself from having to use the restroom during the night.
9. Decrease stimulation 30 minutes before you plan to sleep by shutting off cell phones, televisions, and other devices.
10. Take a Melatonin supplement, as directed, to help regulate your sleep hormones if a long day at work or travel has interrupted your usual sleep routine. Take Shape For Life just came out with one that I have found to be wonderful!
11. Use ear plugs and a sleep mask to block out distractions when you lie down for sleep. TSFL has this too!
12. Commit to starting your day when your alarm goes off so that you can tackle a new day full of potential and rich with opportunities.
Like exercise and nutrition, adjusting your routine to achieve healthy sleep can be challenging. Talk to your health coach about the newest Take Shape For Life Habits for Healthy Sleep products to support you. They are wonderful and can turn a night of tossing and turning into a night of peaceful slumber.
All information was taken from Dr.Wayne Andersen’s new E-book “Stop Challenge Choose” 3 steps towards creating Optimal Health”.
By Marsha Hildebrand, RN