My new years resolution is to get more sleep! Sleep is something that I put off and off, to get more things done. Sleep is SO important. Why have I neglected it for so long?
Adrianna Huffington recently wrote a book entitled “The Sleep Revolution” which I am devouring, usually before bed. Ideally, we should be getting at least 8 hours a night (and kids even more). Sadly, I can admit that I’ve neglected my sleep, especially the last 4 years since having kids. Some circumstance were out of my control and some weren’t.
For instance, staying up late to watch TV shows with my hubby is not essential, and neither is Facebook binging. So I am making a change!
When I wake up exhausted, I am…
1- More likely to yell at my kids
2- More likely to get headaches
3- More likely to get angry at the world (and husband)
I am definitely powerless over not getting sleep, and I am assuming many reading this are too. I suggestion saying the serenity prayer out loud, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.”
Here are some of the benefits of sweet sleep
- Less Stress — REM sleep can help us process emotional stress.
- Happier Mood — Sleep-deprived people were 7x more likely to experience feelings of helplessness and 5x more likely to feel lonely.
- Mental Clarity — 24 hrs without sleep = 0.1 blood alcohol content.
- Better Memory — Sleep-deprived people had memories that were more pliable, remembering things inaccurately.
- Stronger Willpower — Self-control requires mental energy, and when we’re tired it’s easier to become impatient and break willpower.
- Enhanced Problem Solving Via Dreams — Beth Israel Deaconess’ Medical Center in Boston revealed dreaming can help solve difficult problems. The study found that those who napped and dreamed about the maze improved ten times more than their napping counterparts who did not dream about the maze.
- Emotional Intelligence —Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, asked participants to identify facial expressions varying from friendly to threatening. Those who had had sufficient REM sleep correctly read the faces; the sleep-deprived group failed.
- Rehearsal of Events — Via lucid dreaming
- Stronger Immune System — Many of the genes affected by lack of sleep are involved in processing stress and regulating our immune system.
- Wash-Away Toxins — Happens only when we sleep, including proteins that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The glymphatic system, essentially the brain’s plumbing system, functions at a much higher rate during sleep and plays a critical role in brain maintenance. As the mice slept, their brain cells actually shrank in size, creating more space for the spinal cord and brain fluid to flow throughout the brain and literally sweep away the toxic buildup associated with Alzheimer’s.
- Better Diet— Mayo Clinic found sleep-restricted subjects gained more weight than their well-rested counterparts over the course of a week. This is mainly due to higher hormone levels of ghrelin — the “hunger hormone,” which increases our appetite, and lower leptin, the “satiety hormone,” which lowers our appetite.
- Higher Physical Activity — Sleep produces orexin, a neurotransmitter that normally stimulates physical activity.
- Keep Brain Cells — Lack of sleep over a couple of years showed irreversible loss of brain cells.
- Inflammation — Researchers from the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom found that lack of sleep actually changes the gene expression of more than seven hundred genes and increases the activity of genes linked to inflammation. Inflammation is our body’s response to prepare for damage/stress.
- Higher Fertility — If that’s your goal… Sleep deprivation has been linked to infertility in both men and women, as disruption of our circadian rhythms affects hormone production and sperm count… Sleep deprivation has also been associated with erectile dysfunction. This is due to a lack of testosterone which is produced at night.
And if you having trouble getting to bed (because our brains our usually over stimulated by the time we hit the sack) I recommend some natural techniques and solutions:
1- Mediation (lie down and breathe, focus on your breath, when your mind wanders, bring it back to the breath.
2- doTERRA Therapeutic Grade Essential oils on bottoms of feet, back of neck. The best for sleep include Lavender, Vetiver, and Serenity (sleep blend)
3- Diffuse essential oils (in a diffuser–serenity, lavender, vetiver)
4- Drink less caffeine (try not to drink caffeine at least 6 hours before bed)
5- Shower before bed
Here’s a 4 minute Ted Talk by Adrianna Huffington about Sleep! She’s hilarious.
- The way to a more productive life is to get more sleep
- It’s a feminist issue, we are going to sleep our way to the top
- For men, sleep deprecation is a virility issue
- Brilliant leaders make terrible decisions–sleep issues