“How did you sleep last night?”
Take a moment and really think about the answer. Is it “ok” “terrible” or “great, I woke up rested”? When was the last time you woke up feeling rested? When was the last time you woke up feeling like you didn’t sleep at all? With these questions posed I thought I’d scratch the surface of the topic of sleep this week.
Decreased sleep has been linked to all kinds of overall health issues that at the least will make life unpleasant and at the most kill us. Plus, to top it all off if you are constantly running on the preverbal E your performance in the gym will suffer and reaching your goals will be harder than it has to be. Plus if you are well rested your workouts will feel less difficult and you’ll have more mental stamina to push yourself.
Why do we sleep? The truth is we still don’t know why we sleep. Science is looking and collecting data and still no answer. We do know that when we sleep our brains process and deal with the events from the day, we store memories, and the brain cleans house, literally getting rid of substances that slow it down. We know that sleep deprivation literally makes us ill and we also know that without sleep we die. No one has figured out why yet, but they’re working on it.
In the mean time what can we do to promote good sleep in our daily lives? Good sleep hygiene is important. So let’s start there. What is sleep hygiene anyway? It is defined as habits and practices that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis. In other words, what you do before you hit the hay directly affects how you sleep. What are some things you can do to improve your sleep hygiene?
The data shows that the blue light all of our gadgets emit negatively affects our sleep, so turn them off/don’t use them for the last couple hours of your day before bed. Look, I get it, my phone is my alarm so I have to look at it right before I go to bed to make sure my butt gets to work on time. Limit your exposure and you’ll sleep better. Also the lighting in your home acts in the same way, so if possible use dim lighting in the hours before you go to bed. The room where you sleep should also be cool, 64⚬ is ideal. Apparently our bodies do better sleeping in cooler temps, who knew? Research is also showing that the room shouldn’t be silent; that our brains are hardwired to listen for sounds that indicate all is well and it is safe for us to be completely vulnerable in REM sleep. If you don’t get into REM and/or aren’t in it long enough your brain can’t handle all it’s business. Essentially it is like you having a day where no matter what you start you can’t get anything completed. We all know that doesn’t end well. So how do you solve this dilemma since the t.v. emits blue light? Sound machine apps! Yep, there’s an app for that. Pick the sounds that seem to sooth you the most and off to dreamland you go and hopefully stay. The ideal number of hours of shut-eye is eight, if you can get nine you’re a rockstar. We live in a busy world and shutting life down for the night can be difficult.
Go to bed earlier, no really it’s ok… you’re not old you are smart and managing your health.
Best regards and good sleep to all,
Here are a couple articles I found on sleep. There are tons more on Google Scholar for your perusal, good bed-time reading. Enjoy.
Sleep Health: Can We Define It? Does It Matter?
Daniel J. Buysse, MD
Sleep, Volume 37, Issue 1, 1 January 2014, Pages 9–17, https://doi.org/10.5665/sleep.3298
Published: 01 January 2014
Joint Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society on the Recommended Amount of Sleep for a Healthy Adult: Methodology and Discussion
Consensus Conference Panel Nathaniel F. Watson, MD, MSc M. Safwan Badr, MD Gregory Belenky, MD Donald L. Bliwise, PhD Orfeu M. Buxton, PhD Daniel Buysse, MD David F. Dinges, PhD James Gangwisch, PhD Michael A. Grandner, PhD, MSTR, CBSM ... Show more
Sleep, Volume 38, Issue 8, 1 August 2015, Pages 1161–1183, https://doi.org/10.5665/sleep.4886
Published: 01 August 2015