Everything is oh so much better after a good night's sleep, don't you agree? When things seem to be going all wrong or I get caught up in my own head getting a good sleep can be the ticket to gaining a clear perspective. I am such a much nicer person when I'm getting good rest. When my sleep suffers so does everything and everyone else around me (insert teeth gritting emoji guy here!).
Nights on end of trouble falling asleep and/or broken sleep not only negatively affect our mood and focus, they also affect our hormones and therefore our health and body composition as well. You know the good old fight or stress hormone cortisol? We need cortisol to be elevated some of the time however when it's elevated too often (chronic stress) it can make it really hard to get good sleep. Not getting good sleep can lead to a vicious cycle of over caffeination (IV drip of coffee?!) and elevated cortisol which can keep us wired and anxious when what we truly need is a good deep sleep.
Do any of these negative side effects of lack of sleep resonate with you?
*Lack of memory - ever try to recall someones name when you are seriously tired? It's oh so much harder! Not to mention that memories are consolidated during deep sleep so pulling all nighters to study is kind of counter productive.
*Feeling foggy - trying to push through the day with that post lunch brain fog? What was I talking about again? Ahhh yes, sleep!
*Feeling depressed - it's so much harder to smile when all you can think of is crawling back into your bed.. Insomnia and depression can go hand in hand and treating insomnia can help with depression and vice versa.
*Lack of focus - trying to stay focused on one task seems so much more difficult when it takes so much more effort to focus.
*Aging skin - sleep truly is the fountain of youth (and good nutrition, water, and sunscreen!) Lack of sleep doesn't just lead to sallow or puffy eyes, chronic lack of sleep causes an increase in cortisol which can break down collagen which keeps skin smooth, and supple. Human growth hormone which is responsible for increasing muscle mass, tissue repair, and helping to keep bones strong. When sleep is lacking HGH secretion is lower.
*Weight gain - carb and sugar cravings can be all consuming when we're exhausted. We crave that quick blood sugar hit just to keep our eyes open. Oh and we can't forget those pesky hormones ghrelin and leptin whose jobs are to tell us when we're hungry and when to stop eating. They're basically backwards when we are sleep deprived so we are constantly hungry and aren't getting the cue to stop which can lead to an all day smorgasbord of carbs & sugar.
*Impaired judgement - we've all heard the don't drive or operate machinery when tired as our judgment and reaction time are impaired.
*Low libido - sleep deprived men and women just aren't in the mood! When I'm exhausted and my husband looks at me with the look all I can think of is 'OH NO!' instead of 'OH YES!' lol
Some things that trash your sleep!
*Computer & tv screens It's not just the blue light emitted from the devices, watching an action packed show or adrenalin pumping competitive sports game can leave you almost as wired as actually playing the game yourself.
*Exercising too close to bedtime. Again - getting all fired up before bed will make it really hard to wind down.
*Sleeping in a room that's too hot, too light, or too noisy - almost all studies show that sleeping in a cool, dark room makes it so much easier to drift off to sleep. It goes without saying that sleeping in a noisy environment is not conducive to sleep so if your husband is blasting the tv in the living room break out the ear plugs.
*Over caffeinating - whether it's too much over all or too late in the day caffeine can definitely kill your sleep. It's not just coffee, anything caffeinated, even tea and dark chocolate can keep you from those precious zzz's. Even if you fall asleep, it can be more superficial than when your body is not wired.
*Alcohol - a night cap may allow you to fall asleep more quickly however as soon as the alcohol wears off you may find yourself wide awake.
*Not keeping a regular sleep schedule - going to bed and getting up at different times can really mess up your circadian rhythm. When we keep a consistent wake & bed time sleep becomes deeper and more routine.
When I am having incredible sleep here is my sleep routine 🙂
*Get off of all technology by 8:30pm
*Get upstairs in bed by 9-9:30 pm and read for 30-45 mins
*Write notes (I have a notebook to get anything down that may come to mind and may keep me awake thinking about it) and write down at least 5 things that I'm grateful for (may not help with sleep but is part of my routine)
*Meditate for 5-10 minutes (sometimes I fall asleep meditating which is fine by me!)
If I don't get upstairs until 10:30 or later I always have a heck of a time falling asleep - I miss the sleep window and am always ticked at myself.
Last but not least - if I am having a tough few nights of sleep I will take 5mg of liquid melatonin about 30 minutes before bed. Magnesium and zinc are other supplements that can help with sleep if you happen to be low in either.
That's it for now - I hope that these tips help you to have sweet dreams!!