Sleep is necessary for survival.
Its true! Did you know that after just 24 hours of wakefulness, normal brain function is effected and EVERYTHING is thrown out of whack!?! It’s no wonder they say driving while sleep deprived is as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.
Sleep deprivation effects a slew of things! Among them it decreases immune system function, body temperature, and Human Growth Hormone (HGH). HGH is our “master” hormone, produced by the pituitary gland, and responsible for all things associated with youth and vitality. It is Human Growth Hormone that repairs our tissue, grows and regenerates our cells, and stimulates our brain function. The possible key to prolonging youth! Along with its natural slow down around the age of 30, many of us decrease its production early on, spending countless sleepless nights hitting the books and partying away our youth – All the while advancing aging internally and externally!
In addition, disease and the ability your body has to fight it off are decreased significantly, as well as healing, in general. Weight gain and obesity are common problems in individuals who have poor sleep, as the body stores carbohydrates and hormones levels are altered, causing cravings and changes in appetite. Lack of sleep also causes behavior issues like moodiness, irritability, the inability to concentrate, and even depression.
When it comes to our skin, sleep plays a vital role in the way it looks, feels, and regenerates. Lets be honest… Your skin tells the story and reflects lack of sleep, first and foremost! Tired skin looks dull, sallow, and stressed. In addition, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles are more apparent due to a combination of dehydration and lack of collagen production. It is while we sleep that tissue repair and cell renewal take place. When the skin, and body as a whole, are well rested, products and treatments work more effectively and optimal results are achieved as well.
“Quality” of sleep is more important than just merely going to bed at night. If you constantly wake or have intermittent sleep, you are not getting “adequate” sleep. In order to achieve adequate sleep you must move through all 5 sleep stages in a time frame of 7.5-9 hours… Every night.
How to achieve this?
Get back in sync with your Circadian Rhythm – your body’s natural sleep-awake pattern based on a 24 hour physiological process. This is perhaps the most important step in achieving TRUE rest.
Circadian Rhythms are produced by our natural biological clock as well as environmental factors. Light being the major (external) influencing cue. The absence of light entering the eye, for example, cues melatonin production and sleepiness.
The Key to getting back on track… Keep a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night and awake at the same time every morning… yes, weekends included! If you find that even after 8 hours of sleep you are still tired, take advantage of our 90 minute sleep cycle and set your alarm to wake you at a multiple of 90. For example, if you go to bed at 9:30 set your alarm for 6:00 instead of 6:30 or 7. This way, you’ll awake at the end of a sleep cycle instead of in the middle of the next, which is what makes us feel exhausted!
Other helpful tips on creating the perfect environment to catch those Z’s…
Make your bedroom more sleep friendly:
Keep the room dark and cool, even dim lighting from say, a TV, can confuse your body clock. Wear an eye mask if you have lights from outside shining into your bedroom or purchase shades for your windows. Also, keep noises down. I drown out any external/outside noise by using a fan. It also creates for a nice “white noise” which is proven to help with sleep. There are tons of white noise machines available on the market now that work like a charm as well.
Check your stress, worries, and preoccupations at the door:
If you find you cannot clear your mind while trying to fall asleep, get up, go into another part of the house for 5 or 10 minutes, come back, and try again. You may also want to try incorporating yoga and/or meditation before bedtime to clear your mind, relax your body, and prepare for sleep.
Create a bedtime routine:
Turn off all electronics, yes, even your phone (smart phones may just be the death of our sleep patterns!), and reserve your bed for sleeping, that way when you get in it, your body and mind are trained to know exactly what to do. If you practice yoga and/or meditation, adding it into your nightly routine may just work wonders. 😉
Being a new mom has sure taken a toll on MY sleep schedule, that is for sure! But that’s just part of being a parent, I guess. Since my schedule has been Cohen’s schedule for over a year now, I have definitely tried to make these things work for me (when I can) and make it count because trying to function, and raise a baby nonetheless, with little or “bad” sleep, is quite difficult and not all that much fun. Talk about an “affected” MOOD! Ha!
So how much sleep do YOU normally get!?!