Every night I get ready for bed with the same routine….lavender spray, eye mask, lotion and sleep wave sounds or white noise and a book. I try to do all of this within the natural hour of my own sleep schedule (9:15-10:15) to optimize the quality of my sleep, and man do I sleep. That is unless my 17 year old dog starts her nightly marathons around the bed. She has dementia so she gets days and nights confused. It’s called Sundowners syndrome….and it’s a real thing, trust me.
I never used to understand the importance of sleep…I worked late nights and usually partied into the wee morning hours (I watched many a sunrise in the old days). I thought I was born to be a night person. If you’re one of those who says “Oh I am a night owl…I am not meant to go to bed until after 12:00 a.m.” You are missing out on the best sleep of your life and you are kidding yourself. Humans were all made to follow the same circadian pattern.
Sleep is essential and one of the most underestimated activities our body needs for regeneration of cells, weight loss, mood stabilization, hormone regulation, etc. In general an adult should aim for a minimum of 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night for optimal health. Most people get less than 6 with 2-3 wakings at the least. The human body has no adaptation for lack of sleep. If we don’t get enough there is nothing in the body that gears up and says “Ok…let’s use this mechanism to replace that lost sleep so we can survive.” The only thing that replaces lost sleep is sleep. The natural rhythm of our bodies is to wake up when the sun rises and go to bed when the sun sets. Our stress hormone cortisol should rise in the morning when the morning light hits our eyelids and it should lower at night. Disruption in sleep can mean cortisol gone haywire….(that’s a topic for another day!) and that can mean a lot more serious problems that just walking through the day in a fog.
Lack of sleep can cause many issues:
*Obesity and weight gain
*Mood disorders such as anxiety and panic disorder
*Weakness and fatigue
*Heightened inflammation in the body (risk of stroke, heart attack increases)
*Hormone disruption (Ghrelin, Leptin, Melatonin, cortisol, etc.)
*Increased risk of cancer
*High blood pressure
*Less focus and impaired learning
So you may be convinced by now that you need to make some changes in your schedule in order to get more sleep. How to start? Go to my home page and opt in to get my Free Sleep Guide with tons of tips and resources on how you can get better sleep.
Encourage your children to adopt a “same time to bed” schedule as well. A few late nights are okay…but for the most part kids need to follow a regular sleep schedule as much as we do. Putting them to bed later just because it’s a weekend night could be asking for trouble. I can always tell when Brayden hasn’t slept enough because he is cranky, whines a lot and can’t be satisfied with anything. Oh…wait…that’s me. Anyway….Sleep. It’s important…beyond
measure. Next to water we have to have it to survive so spray the air with lavender, have your husband haul the TV OUT of the bedroom (only sex and sleep in the bedroom), darken that room and give your worries over to someone else until tomorrow….sleep tight.