Make Sleep a Priority

For me exercising and eating healthy is much easier than getting an adequate amount of sleep. I have so much I want to accomplish it makes it difficult for me to get my sleep. I must implement processes to get an adequate amount of sleep. In the past, I bragged about getting by on four or five hours of sleep. I was that super woman until my body reminded me that I was not. Now I aim for seven hours of sleep each night. Studies show that adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

What is sleep? The Merriam Webster definition of sleep is “the natural, easily reversible periodic state of many living things that is marked by the absence of wakefulness and by the loss of consciousness of one’s surroundings, is accompanied by a typical body posture (such as lying down with the eyes closed), the occurrence of dreaming, and changes in brain activity and physiological functioning, is made up of cycles of non-REM sleep and REM sleep, and is usually considered essential to the restoration and recovery of vital bodily and mental functions.” The key part of this definition is that sleep is considered necessary for your body to recover physically and mentally.

Sleep deprivation can lead to physical and mental problems. It can cause high blood pressure, weight gain, skin problems, and poor memory. You can have trouble making decisions and become more impulsive or emotional. It can increase your risk of diabetes and other diseases. You are more likely to get sick when you are sleep deprived because your body does not have an opportunity to recover and restore. Basically, without sleep your body is being worn down. I know some people say you need to forgo sleep to be successful. This is not true, and it can be harmful to your health.

To get my sleep at night I need to set a schedule. This keeps me from staying up late doing things I do not need to do. I also take melatonin, exercise, and use lavender aromatherapy. This is my process. If you are not getting enough sleep, you need to create a process that works for you.

Some people have trouble sleeping because they have the “what ifs” running through their minds. If that is your problem, try journaling. Write down what is bothering you. Seeing it in print can help you cope with the problem. Create a relaxing and quiet atmosphere for sleeping. Set aside technology and make the room dark and comfortable. Watch what you eat before bedtime. Caffeine can negatively impact sleep. Be aware of foods that contain caffeine including chocolate, coffee, soft drinks, and some teas. Stress can negatively impact sleep. If you are under a lot of stress practice relaxation methods including meditation, prayer, and exercise. Do not use alcohol to help with sleep. In the long term it can be detrimental.

If you have chronic insomnia talk with a healthcare professional to assist you with creating a plan to help you sleep. Sleep is an important component of living a healthy lifestyle and you should not ignore it.

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