importance-of-sleep

Get More Sleep

As you may have read here, my 2017 is all about short term, monthly goals. First order of business, get more sleep. My sleep habits are (and have been for over a decade) seriously messed up. While I’ve always known it’s not normal to run on 4 hours of sleep per night, consistently live in a state of exhaustion and pass out the second I sit down to watch a movie or TV show, I never delved into the issue until recently.

I read an excerpt from Dr. William Dement, the founder of Sleep Research at Stanford University (he sounds like a pretty big deal), who explained, “Healthful sleep has been empirically proven to be the single most important factor in predicting longevity, more influential than diet, exercise, or heredity. And yet we are a sleep-sick society, ignorant of the facts of sleep — and the price of sleep deprivation.” He continues to explain said detrimental effects go far beyond my biggest concern (looking old and haggard as fuck) and can lead to risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer, depression and loss of athleticism. The National Sleep Foundation states that adults should get anywhere from 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

Uh, Shit. 

I decided it’s high time I started prioritizing my zzz’s (in addition to saving my pennies for botox, hashtag: multitasking). Which leads me to my January goal: get more healthful sleep.

Why is prioritizing sleep health so important? As if I would need more evidence than the above, the benefits of sleep include:

  • Protection of mental health, physical health, and quality of life
  • Hormonal control over blood glucose sugar levels, which may affect your risk for diabetes
  • Balance of the hormones that signifies hunger. Have you ever noticed that when you’re tired you’re more likely to eat mindlessly?
  • Supports healthy growth and development and boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues
  • Regulates your immune system to defend your body against foreign or harmful infections

Finally, how will I go about my 30-day quest to sleep better? Read on…and better yet, read this too if you missed it the first time around.

Establish the 3 Pillars of Short Term Goal Setting: 

1) My action plan, or how my goals will come to fruition. BE SPECIFIC:

  • Establish a consistent routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, getting into bed at 10pm and waking up at 6:30am
  • Shut down my computer and phone by 9:45pm and avoid checking my phone, social media or email prior to bed and while in bed
  • Honor my alarm – aka not hitting snooze 25 times. You’re welcome, husband.

2) What I’m willing to sacrifice in order to prioritize my goal:

  • Aimlessly scrolling across social media – especially Instagram and Snap Chat.
  • Understanding that my shut down time may cause me to have an inbox or to-do list that carries over to the next day. Meaning I’ll most likely need to work earlier in the morning so I’ll work less at night

3) How I’ll measure success:

Not including Saturday nights, there are 27 nights in the month of January. I’ll consider this month successful if I get 8 hours of good sleep 18 nights out of the 27.

Moving forward, the month of January will be equipped with an alarm to remind me to get into bed (10pm) and to wake up without hitting snooze (6:30am). The nightly shut down is going to be a challenge, but like most goals, the juice will be worth the squeeze. Looking forward to waltzing into February well rested, energetic and refreshed…sans under eye circles. WINK!

Sources:

Dement, William C., and Christopher C. Vaughan. The Promise of Sleep: A Pioneer in Sleep Medicine Explores the Vital Connection between Health, Happiness, and a Good Night’s Sleep. New York: Delacorte, 1999. Print.

“Why Is Sleep Important?” National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2017.

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