Just like eating healthy and exercising daily, there are many other things that contribute to overall health and vitality. One of the most important is something that our society seems to put on the back burner: SLEEP!
I hope that by posting some facts and the “importance of sleep” it will cause you to get in bed just a little earlier tonight!
Lack of sleep is responsible for so many things such as a myriad of diseases, lack of energy, lack of interest in life, weight gain (YES! You read that right) and much more. So, it makes sense to read up and learn the importance of this valuable “time” in your life and start sleeping more.
So many of us spend our time rushing and trying to fill ALL of our minutes making up for “lost” time. As a fitness professional I have heard SO many times from parents how this vital time at night is sometimes “the only time” they get so instead of sleeping, they fill it with the things of the day. This can easily turn into a vicious cycle however leaving you stressed out, adrenally fatigued and a LOT LESS productive.
Your circadian rhythm has evolved over generations to align your physiology with your environment. This means that your “body clock” if you will, assumes that you will be asleep at night and awake during the day! You must be careful not to confuse your body by not sleeping enough (or eating too late!!) because this can cause the many issues stated above… with the biggest being WEIGHT GAIN!
Your body goes through so many processes at night. Rebuilding, repairing and rejuvenating the body for the following day. If you cut your sleep short and inhibit these processes you will surely pay for it somewhere including but not limited to your waistline.
When your body is sleep deprived it decreases in the production of leptin and increases in the production of ghrelin.
Leptin is the hormone that tells you there is no need for food and ghrelin is the hormone that triggers hunger! Yes! You read it right here friends…. up at night? Watching TV too late and getting hungry for no reason? Well, there IS a reason! Your body needs to be resting and if you are noticing these signs and symptoms this is a key sign that your body needs to be in bed sleeping.
Lack of sleep is a HUGE reason why people put on so much weight. You see, life should be balanced friends. It is not healthy to stress out, rush around and then try to “get ahead” by cutting the only thing that really helps your body recover.
So, now that you know some of the effects of not sleeping.. I want to provide you with some practical things you can do to keep this precious time. My first suggestion is to take a small bit of time out of your weekend to prepare your “life” if you will. Your meals, your schedule and the family schedule if you are a parent. Much of what causes us to “rush” around can be solved by proper planning.
During the week, commit to only doing what was put on the schedule. Adding to your ever-growing to do list during the week is often a big culprit of eating up precious time. I am all for helping people and meeting but I always do my schedule in advance and I build in my time for 1) my family/friends 2) my work 3) my exercise in no particular order. The importance of sticking to the schedule will ultimately save your valuable time for sleep friends.
Pick a time in the evening when ALL televisions/laptops and other electronic distractions will be turned off. You must stick to this (I did it!) and trust me, it will take time but if you can get in the habit of this it will save you SO much valuable sleeping time.
Get your family involved by teaching them the importance of sleep and holding each other accountable. When you have the help of others it is ALWAYS easier.
Remember, YOU can always begin fresh! There is no way to be “fresher” in mind than getting those ZZZ’s! I hope this provides a little bit of insight as to the importance of sleep and I hope you start getting more of it!
Here is to a happy and healthy lifestyle for ALL of us!
~Team A+A Wellness