Is your body too tired to be healthy?
Are you getting enough sleep? Here are some clues that you may be asking too much from your body:
- Does your mind wandering when reading a magazine article?
- Do you have trouble focusing your eyes when you are driving?
- Do you hit the snooze button several times each morning?
- Do you feel like the volume is turned up on your emotions?
- Do you forget appointments or important dates?
- Do you carry extra weight around your middle, no matter how much you count calories or exercise?
Lack of sleep has significant health consequences now and into the future. Without enough good quality sleep your body will pay you back with increased cortizol levels and more belly fat. So, make sure you Pay Your Body Back with enough sleep to stay healthy.
Even energetic 30-somethings are laying the foundation of their future health. Lack of sleep can mean they are laying calcium deposits in their arteries as well. A recent study concluded people who consistently sleep five hours per night or less have a much more likely to develop the “hardening of the arteries” type of heart disease than people who slept seven to eight hours per night. The damage begins in your 20s and 30s.
If you don’t get enough sleep your body will pay you back with increased risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and depression. In addition lack of sleep decreases your mental agility, alertness and impairs your immune system.
How can you get a better night’s sleep?
- Get some exercise. Moving around during the day will wear you out and help you sleep. However, avoid exercise (except for gentle stretching) within two hours of bed time. Exercise revs you up and will make it difficult to fall asleep.
- Get some light. Help your body figure out when it is time to be awake and time to sleep. Get some natural light during the day and then dim the lights as you head to bed.
- Get on schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Allow your body to get into a routine. Napping and sleeping in mess up you body’s schedule and should be limited.
- Get comfy. Set yourself up for success with a bed and bedroom designed just for sleep. Avoid watching television, working, eating, or writing out your list of things to do while on your bed. Allow your brain and body to association your bed with sleep — and well … sex only.
- Get quiet. Spend the last 30 minutes before you turn out the light in calm and peace. Read something light and entertaining, listen to calming music, or meditate. Often laying out clothes for the morning or writing a list of things to do before you start the quiet time can help you let go of worries and relax.
- Get help. Talk to your doctor if you regularly have trouble sleeping.
Many studies have found seven to eight hours of sleep per night is essential to good health. There is some evidence that sleeping more than 9 hours per night can be detrimental, but is too much sleep really a problem most busy people have?
Eliz Greene works busy people to improve heart health, so they can work well, feel better, and stress less.
She is a heart attack survivor and the author of the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart as well as 3 other books on wellness. She writes one of the top 50 health and wellness blogs and is a sought-after wellness & stress management speaker.
If you are planning a women’s wellness program, workplace wellness program or programs for healthcare professionals check out EmbraceYourHeart.com to see if Eliz would be a good fit with your organization.