We have all heard the 8 hour rule for the amount of sleep you should be getting a night, and due to many life disturbances we are not getting anywhere near that. From kiddos that are awake during the middle of the night to the spouse that snores, there are so many factors that can disrupt our precious zzz's each night. It is absolutely crucial that we try and get at least 7 to 8 hours due to some important hormones in our body. There have been many studies done on sleep depravation, and when the body doesn't get enough rest a hormone that increases hunger is amplified, and a hormone that tells your body it is full is decreased significantly.
Many people feel they can function on only a few hours of sleep a night, but research says differently. There are many negative side effects to not getting enough sleep, and those side effects are both minor and life threatening. You are more prone to getting into a car accident when you are sleep deprived, because your body cannot react as fast as it needs to when your brain is only functioning at 50%. Because the brain is slow in its response rate, your basic thoughts and creativity at work may also be slowed down significantly too, which does not help you get that promotion you deserve!
In regards to weight loss, when you are not sleeping your hormones get all outta whack, which does not do your waistline a favor. When the hormone Ghrelin is overproducing, it is telling your body you are really hungry (even when you are not). Likewise, the hormone Leptin which signals to the brain you are full and should no longer eat is hardly produced causing you to overeat even more. This can put you on the fast track to gaining weight, and taking on even more sleeping nights.
Lose The Lights
Our cell phones seem to be strapped to our hands almost 12 hours a day, and when they are not strapped to our hands we are most likely looking at a computer screen or television screen. Those bright, flickering lights are stimulating and will make it harder for your body to wind down for bed. Most health professionals suggest staying away from any luminous lights for at least 2 hours before bed, but if this is not realistic for you try and start with 30 minutes. Your brain will thank you!
Take A Bath
Baths are almost as relaxing as massages (for those of you who like massages, you know what I am talking about). Because getting a massage every single night is not realistic, why not take a detox bath filled with Epsom salts, and essential oils like lavender. The salts pull the toxins from your body and the aroma of the oils will have you feeling relaxed in no time. This bath does not need to take up your entire night, but it is amazing what even 10 minutes will do for relaxing the body! Give it a try.
It is important (not just for sleep) to get your body moving and exercising at least once a day. You will sleep better and you will feel better as a person overall, even if it is just for 30 minutes a day. Physical activity has a way of leveling out our hormones, and getting our bodies creating more new oxygen in our system for overall better wellness and wellbeing!
Limit Daytime Naps, and Get on a Schedule
There is nothing worse than being so tired in the middle of the day that you have to pause and take a short nap. When they are short they are fine but it gets dangerous when they become too long, threatening your future night sleep. The worst feeling in the world is taking too long of a nap, and throwing your sleeping routine off completely. Limit those naps, and get on a daily schedule so that your body knows what time is sleeping time and won’t confuse it throughout the day and night.
Whatever your routine may be, try and incorporate some of these helpful tips in for a better nights sleep. When you sleep more, your body will be rejuvenated and ready to take on the day with full force. It will not be sluggish, and your hormones will be in line with how you really should be feeling (full or not full). You will feel like a new person with a few more hours of sleep and a little less stress in your daily life! Go get some quality shut eye tonight, and track what routines work in your life!