I used to wear busyness and lack of sleep like a badge of honor. I was the person that answered with the word “busy” when someone asked me how I was doing. What kind of answer is that? As if being busy and not sleeping meant that I had a lot of important things going on in my life. Well, I have spent the last year trying to “un-busy” my life. Because, busy was not cute and busy was killing me, literally!
My busyness and FOMO led to lots of late nights and very poor sleep habits. If you’re a busy person, I would venture to guess that you’re not getting an adequate amount of sleep either. But, did you know that too little sleep leads to a shorter lifespan?
When we entered this journey to get healthy, I was surprised to learn how vital a role sleep plays in your overall physical health. And, consistency is key!
Here’s some information I found really interesting about sleep.
- Inflammation – I know that I talk about inflammation a lot, but that is because it is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging. Research indicates that people who get less sleep—six or fewer hours a night—have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who get more. (1)
Heart Disease is the NUMBER 1 killer of women.
This is why I say that my busyness was killing me. I was on the go so much that I was constantly sick. Not only was my diet highly inflammatory from all the sugar and processed foods that I was consuming, but my lack of sleep was a double whammy!
- Have you heard of “Social Jet Lag”? This is when your weekday sleep pattern is different from your weekend’s sleep pattern because of staying out late, etc. Well, a study in the journal of Current Biology found that people with differing sleep schedules have triple the odds of being overweight. What’s more, the body mass index (BMI) of overweight people tended to rise as the gap between their weekday and weekend “time zones” widened. (2)
Disrupting your body’s circadian rhythms and living against your body clock is detrimental to your health.
- Melatonin – Another study published in the Journal of Pineal Research found that the melatonin secreted during your sleep cycle produces what they call Brown Adipose Tissue, (BAT) also known as “Brown Fat”. Guess what, Brown Fat is Good! It works like muscle in that it aids in eliminating excess body fat. But, optimal amounts of melatonin are secreted when you create a consistent sleep cycle. (3)
This is why Consistency is key!
I never would have guessed that a consistent Light & Dark Cycle would aid in burning excess body fat. Knowledge truly is power, because I no longer feel like I’m missing out or consider myself lazy when it comes to getting my sleep. I KNOW that prioritizing a sleep routine is good for my health and overall wellbeing. That being said, It’s hard breaking the Go, Go, Go lifestyle. I have to remind myself regularly that it is OKAY to take care of myself. I don’t have to be Super Woman and be everything to ALL people. What I’m able to do is enough and I’m okay with that. A mentor of mine told me that, “You’re going to have to say no to “good things” and that’s okay. You can’t do everything.”
It took a long time for me to live that out in my life and it’s an ongoing process.
Make SLEEP a priority! — How do you put this in action?
Create a Sleep Routine. Here are some ideas:
- Create a regular sleep schedule – remember consistency is key!
- Set an Alarm to start winding down (45 mins to 1 hour) before your desired bedtime
- Turn of your electrical devices (especially your phone and computer) blue light effects levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin more than any other wavelength.
- Write down your to-do list so that you can relax and not worry about what you have to do the next day.
- Unwind: Take a bath, have a relaxing cup of tea, pray or meditate, read a book. These will help you unwind and tell your body it’s time for bed.
- Finally, sleep in a dark room! Invest in some black out curtains and remove all artificial light.
With a consistent sleep routine you can Reap the following Benefits!
- Improved memory
- Improved athletic performance, less prone to injury
- Improved mood and mental health
- Better focus and concentration
- Improved metabolism
- Less pain/decrease in inflammation
- Stronger Immunity
Your life is a result of your habits. Don’t underestimate the value of sleep. You simply cannot achieve optimal health without taking care of your sleep.
Here’s to living healthy and thriving!
Peace & Love,