Sleep…or the lack thereof…is a hot topic around our house right now. Especially around the holidays. Baby Ruby is such a good baby, and sleeps really well for her young age, but still. I miss those regular, non-interrupted ZZZs I’m so used to getting.
Besides making us feel tired and a bit grumpy (as Cash often reminds me!), a lack of sleep can cause so many issues you might not be aware of:
- Trying to lose weight? A lack of sleep can cause obesity and make it harder to lose those extra pounds! When you don’t get enough sleep, your body secretes less of a hormone called leptin, which tells you you’re full, and more of a hormone called ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry. Now that’s a no-win situation, for sure!
- Sleepy people are involved in more accidents on the road, at home, and on the job. One study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that sleepiness is a cause in 100,000 auto crashes and 1,550 crash-related deaths a year. That’s scary!
- A lack of sleep makes it harder for you to think clearly and remember things. I already have a hard enough time keeping track of our crazy life!
- Excess fatigue can negatively affect our most intimate relationships. That is so not good!
- If you don’t get enough sleep you have a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, long term mood disorders, lower immune function, alcohol use, and a shorter life expectancy.
- A lack of sleep can age your skin. Uh…no thank you!
- When you’re sleep deprived, you’re less able to recognize that you are—in fact—sleep deprived, so you’re less motivated to get the sleep you really need.
So, how do you find time for more ZZZs in an already crazy busy life? Here are some tips from the experts at WebMD:
- Get enough sleep at night (7-9 hours). Ladies, this one is especially crucial for us—a recent study at Duke University found that women need more sleep than men because of our awesome multi-tasking brains! Having a hard time doing this? Try this next tip.
- Instead of going to bed an hour earlier, which is a difficult thing to do, try going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night for four nights, and make night four’s bedtime your new regular bedtime.
- Keep other activities (reading, working/playing on the computer, paying bills, watching TV, etc.) out of your bed and reserve it only for sleeping and intimate-type activities (*wink, wink*).
- Wake up at the same time every day. Even on weekends.
- Eat meals on a regular schedule, like we do in carb cycling, so your energy levels will stay constant. Not only will you be more likely to make better food choices, but you’ll also be less likely to get sleepy from a lack of energy.
- Exercise regularly. While this might not make sense, exercise helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
- Can’t find time to go to bed earlier? Re-examine and re-prioritize your schedule. When you get enough sleep, you’ll be much more successful with all your most important tasks!
- Create a relaxing bedtime ritual: Soak in the tub, read a book, listen to your favorite soft music, or whatever helps you relax. Our little Ruby has her own bedtime ritual and it works like a charm!
Does this all seem totally overwhelming? Pick just one tip and set a SMART Goal. Even one tiny improvement can make a world of difference!