I remember in my teens one of my favourite things to do was sleep. My sister and I would sleep until my dad had to bang on our bedroom door and let us know the day was almost over and we needed to get up. 🤬🤬🤬
Fast forward to my 20’s when like most, sleep was deemed a nuisance. You know, who needed sleep?🤷🏾♀️ I viewed it as something that interrupted what I really wanted to do, which was to stay up all night on the phone or partying.
Now, (no need to mention age here 🤦🏽♀️🤪) but I’m at a point where my sleep is NON-NEGOTIABLE! I’ll cancel plans or be late because I need my sleep. I mean nothing comes between myself and my sleep!
This is unlike the trend “no sleep” being perpetrated. You know the one that’s worn with a badge of honour? #teamnosleep …I cringe whenever I read them. I wanna shake the person and educate them on the importance of sleep, but I just sip my tea and mind my business .
Instead, I decided to create a blog that’ll educate everyone on wtf sleep is important!!
1. Lack of Sleep Can Cause Weight Gain: I bet this got your immediate attention!! When you are not getting enough sleep, it affects your hormones particularly the ones that regulate your hunger and appetite. It causes the hormone leptin (suppresses appetite and encourages the body to expand energy) to go down and increases the hormone ghrelin (triggers hunger). This can increase your food consumption and cravings for those sugary and fat filled foods as you find yourself grabbing that chocolate bar or going through the Drive-thru instead of making dinner.
2. Sleep Can Improve Your Memory & Productivity: Did you know, although we assume when we sleep our brain shuts off, but it is actually an active period when important processing and restoration occurs. It helps you take those memories from the day (short-term memories) and transfers them into long term memories while we sleep. It also increases your ability to be productive by enabling your mind to increase processing speed, be more creative, reason and problem solve.
3. Sleep Can Improve Your Athletic Performance: No, you don’t have to be Serena Williams, Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps for this to be applicable. This applies whether you’re a professional athlete or just starting out a new exercise program. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body does not have enough time to repair the muscles and tissues that you worked that day. Sleep will also help improve your reaction time when playing sports or doing a particular exercise, and it reduces your chances of injury which I know you all want to avoid!
4. Sleep Improves Your Mental Health: When you don’t get enough sleep, you might find that you’re more irritable, short-tempered with people, and/or are more vulnerable to stress. Stress in particular can affect your sleep because it puts your body into a state of hyperarousal, increasing your blood pressure and breathing. Getting into a relaxed state so that you can sleep (read below to learn some ways) will help improve your mood and lower your stress and anxiety cause your mind will be sharp and focused, able to handle anything.
5. Sleep Improves Your Immune System Function: If you feel that cold coming on or you know your prone to getting sick at certain times of the year (or just affected by the up and down temperatures we experience here in Toronto), make sure you’re getting adequate sleep. Your infection fighting antibodies and cells actually decrease when you don’t get enough sleep, leaving it harder for you to fight off any viruses that you come into contact with.
6. Lack of Sleep Can Age Your Appearance: This is definitely something that none of us want, you want to keep that young youthful glow! When you don’t get enough sleep, the moisture level in your skin is reduced, lowering the skin’s pH level, which can result in dry skin, redness and even breakouts. Further lack of sleep causes the development of dark circles under your eyes from your blood vessels dilating. Getting that needed sleep can help control your vanity.
Those are just a few of the key reasons why we need sleep! Now you’re probably wondering what can I do, to make sure I get 7-9 hours of sleep a night? Don’t worry I wouldn’t leave you hanging. I’ve got you covered with the below tips:
Evaluate Your Space: Before thinking about getting some shut eye, look around your bedroom and consider these three things, which can greatly impact your sleeping cycle:
- Temperature: Research has noted that the ideal sleeping temperature is 60-67°F (15.5-19.5°C) because your body temperature naturally drops lower to induce sleep.
- Artificial Light: Has been shown to impact your brain wave patterns, hormones and the ability of the body’s cells to regenerate, which could lead to diseases like obesity, cancer and cardiovascular issues. Further insomnia is impacted by artificial light because the light suppresses your ability to produce enough melatonin, which is a sleep-inducing hormone. To combat this issue, there are a few quick fixes like not keeping your phone near you during sleep (those notifications will still be there when you wake-up!), turning your alarm clock to face a wall, and avoiding all artificially lit screens before bed (TV, tablets, smartphones etc).
- Sound: This one is dependent on you! Some people prefer to have white noise, others might like calming music, sounds of nature or even hearing a human voice. Test it out and see what works for you.
Create A Bedtime Ritual: This will vary for everyone depending on your personality and what works for you but here are a few tips, that might help you get into the relaxed mindset that you need for a good night’s sleep:
- Create To Do Lists: If you’re someone who is concerned about what you’ve got going on the next day and it’s going to keep you up at night, take the time to make a To Do List. It will help you be prepared so you can relax getting a good sleep, waking up energized and ready to tackle the day.
- Breathing Techniques: By concentrating on your breathing and Inhaling/Exhaling through your diaphragm, it will help to calm your nervous system and relax your body before sleep
- Your Senses…Tune into Them: Take a moment to evaluate your senses and bring yourself back to the present moment. It will help your mind not drift to those stressful tasks ahead or something that happened earlier in the day that would hinder your sleep.
Follow A Sleep Schedule: This might be easier said than done, but if you can get yourself onto a sleep schedule your body will thank-you for it! Here are a few tips how:
- Be Consistent: You need to pick a sleep and wake-up time and stick to it, ensuring you get those 7 to 9 hours of sleep that your body requires. It may take a while to get to that ideal time, but if your aiming to go to sleep earlier, slowly push the time 15 minutes earlier each week, and soon that 11Pm bedtime will be 10Pm. Also, an important note: on weekends, if you’re going to sleep in, only allow for 1-2 hours later than your normal wake-up time. This will ensure that you are able to adjust back to your schedule during the week.
- Stop Snoozing: I am definitely guilty of this one, sometimes hitting it 4-5 times! The issue is that while we “Snooze” we are actually getting very poor sleep quality and that extra 10 minutes is not going to help us in our day. So instead of snoozing, set your alarm to a time where you know you must get up so there is no way that you can roll over and forget about it! Over time as you create your consistent sleep pattern, it will be easier to not hit that Snooze Button. I’m working on it too!
So, there you have it! What steps are you going to take to make sure you’re getting the best and longest sleep you possibly can? Leave a comment below and let me know!
Remember that sleep isn’t a luxury, it’s a NON-NEGOTIABLE! You need it to stay healthy, achieve athletic performance, look youthful, and keep you sharp! That 7-9 hours of shut eye a night will do you wonders, trust me!
If you’re ready to ensure that you’re getting a good night’s sleep and fueling your body properly, I would be happy to help out. Just click HERE to schedule your FREE 15 minute consultation.