Give the Gift of Sleep
Sleep…it’s “overrated,” right? Well, that’s what the people say that aren’t getting enough of it.
Sleep could be one of the best gifts you give your body during this hustle and bustle season. Yes, there are tons of things to get done this time of year, but if you don’t get good sleep each evening you are at risk of getting ill.
I’m an 8 hour kind of girl, myself. How many hours do you usually sleep?
When you’re sleeping the body repairs itself – the heart and blood vessels. Why is this important? Well, the heart and blood vessels are what “feeds” the rest of our body. If they aren’t working well, organs begin to decline or shut down. Your muscles repair during sleep as well, especially after a strenuous workout or overuse.
Lack of sleep is linked to stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and kidney disease. It’s linked to depression, anxiety, inflammation, compromises your immune system, and affects cognitive skills.
Here are 3 things you can do to wind down and hit the hay at a decent hour.
1. Dim the lights in your home early in the evening so that the hormone, melatonin, will be released. Melatonin helps regulate your sleep schedule. Yes – your body knows what it needs. Give it some Zzzzzzzzz’s. Stop manipulating your body with bright lights.
2. Release the stress by deep breathing. Stress causes cortisol to be excreted and this loads our body with glucose that acts as an energy source for muscles. Keeps us awake “thinking,” “worrying,” or just “making a to-do list.” Cortisol also causes extra storage of fat around the mid-section – thanks to the glucose that isn’t burned for energy while sleeping (or trying to).
3. Finally, drink ample amounts of water daily. When your body is dehydrated it hangs on to toxins and the liver can’t function as it should. Ideally, half of your body weight in ounces daily is a good rule of thumb. Tough to reach sometimes, but you’ll sleep better when you do. Just cut off liquids around 7pm so the need for the bathroom doesn’t break your sleep cycle.