No Sleep is Killing You!

This topic particularly sparked my interest because so many of us are plagued with poor sleeping habits and inadequate rest. Our bodies repair themselves when we sleep, more specifically in REM (rapid eye movement) cycle. Every single cell in our body requires rest to be able to function properly. Without it, we would fall into a deep, dark spiral of dismay that will preclude us to many disease processes. Over time, this will affect many of our important organs and cause significant harm to their function.

This is not only important for individuals who are physically active, but for all ages, races, and genders. It is vital that we get, and maintain, a routine where we have 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. We know the importance of sleep from the cellular level to the fully functioning organ level, but let’s look at some things that every single person does that affects HOW we sleep. I am going to show you five easy steps to get a great night’s sleep.

First, take the television out of your bedroom. The bedroom is meant for sleep, not for watching TV. Many studies support this notion because of the harmful effects it has on our eyes. It gives off a significant amount of blue light that can impede our ability to fall asleep, and to stay asleep!

Second, no scrolling through your feed or looking up stuff within 1–1.5 hours of your bedtime. Again, we have to be cognizant of blue light and how it negatively affects our ability to fall asleep. There are bountiful amounts of studies that support this and it seems no one takes it seriously. This is really troublesome because of how close we hold our phones to our faces, compared to the televisions blue lights. We have all been there, I used to stare at my phone, about 4 inches from my face and when I would finally put my phone down and close my eyes, all I would see is a bright shape that looked like my phone in the back of my eyelids! How awful is that?!

Third, do not drink water within 3 hours of falling asleep. If we are drinking a gallon of water a day, as we should, there is minimal time throughout the day that we have to consume that amount. Sometimes individuals cram that water in just before going to bed or with dinner. This will end up keeping you up all night going to the bathroom and having lots of interrupted sleep.

Fourth, do not eat food 2 hours prior to bedtime. I know this can be challenging given today’s fast pace and limited time to cook and prepare meals after work and with all the other extracurricular activities you may be involved in, but it is imperative. The foods we eat can negatively impact our sleep patterns and can even cause GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). This is a growing concern because of how high the rate of developing this disease process is. Over time, food will erode at the soft internal layers of our stomach (especially caffeine, smoke, highly acidic foods) and stomach acid will flow up our esophagus. This leads to heartburn and can predispose us to develop esophageal cancer if we do not take the necessary precautions to combat this silent killer. Just food for thought- see what I did there?:)

Lastly, have a routine or a schedule to improve your compliance with getting regular sleep. Even though we are adults and don’t necessarily need a bedtime dictated by our parents, we need one dictated by us so we can get the rest we need to conquer the next day. I am not saying to drop everything you are doing at 9 pm and run off to bed. Use that 9 pm bedtime to manage your time throughout the day and try to wind down within 1–2 hours of falling asleep so you are not thinking about the report that’s due for work, remembering if you shut the garage door or packed the kiddos lunch for tomorrow. Take that time to slow down and think about what you need and how good that pillow is going to feel when you finally lay your head down.

Happy dreaming! zzzzzzzzzzz…….

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