We have been getting requests for more mind content, so to start off a series of mind related blogs, lets talk about sleep. Even though sleep is overlooked as an essential part of good health, it is still very important. Let’s demystify the truth about sleep.
Can you ever catch up on sleep? Not really. Lack of sleep cannot be fixed by going to bed early the next night.
Catching up on sleep can take up to 4 days of recovery time. And let’s be honest. The chances are, we will not put aside some extra hours aside for the next 4 nights to catch up. Who has time for that? Americans are already getting 60-90 minutes less of sleep than they did 50 years ago.
The impact of less sleep can be severe. Lack of sleep increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, depression, cancer, and dementia. These are all diseases that have serious health consequences and can really get in the way of the life you want to live. So how can you get more sleep and get everything done you need to? Stay regular.
Get enough sleep so you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go for your day. This may mean 7 hours of sleep for some people and 10 hours of sleep for others. Whatever your number is, make it your routine to get that amount of sleep each night. Create a bedtime for yourself and a to-do list that you need to finish before bedtime. With enough sleep, you may even find yourself more productive, leaving you with extra time on your hands to take a break and just relax.
If you do find yourself needing to stay up late for something important, you can still plan for it. Try to set aside time to go to bed early the night before or the following 4 nights after. Budgeting time for sleep is just as important as budgeting your time to help your kids with homework or finishing a project at work.
If your energy levels are dragging and you are already getting enough sleep, consider exercising. Exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy! If you cannot seem to get enough sleep, consider ways to quite your mind. Yin yoga is a meditative style of yoga that keeps you moving and settles your mind. You can also take the time to create a conducive sleep environment at night. Turn off all the lights and screens, eliminate all distractions, reduce noise disturbances (including snoring, sawing wood, or whatever else you would like to call it), and set the temperature to a comfortable setting. Lay down in this relaxing environment and focus on your breathing to help clear your mind. It may take some getting used to, but over time, sleeping should become easier.