Hey, friends! Confession: My sleep habits have kinda sucked in the past few months. And while I was really been paying the price, I’ve gotten myself back into a decent zip code of Snoozeville. There’s a number of reasons (and excuses) for why I let this happen. The bottom line, however, is that I needed to create better sleep.
I use the word “create” because it’s a word that signifies I have the opportunity to make an impact here.
That’s what biohacking is essentially all about, right? (Nod yes) It’s the theory of optimizing your body’s performance to its best functioning capabilities. Basically, it’s playing the hell out of the cards you were dealt, so to speak.
Better sleep is no different.
As I mentioned at the top, I’ve got excuses. Our air conditioning unit decided to go to electrical appliance heaven in the midst of a brutally hot summer. I have to get up at 5 am to teach Barre class, but only three mornings a week. This can make it difficult to sync up a normal Circadian rhythm. My husband and I don’t see each other many days until almost 8 pm, so I’ll often stay up later than I should to enjoy a show together. And yeah, I’ll admit– I’m guilty of catching up with the world via my phone or iPad when my eyes should be closed.
Ugh, the rabbit holes you wander down late at night on the internet… why, whyyy, whyyyy am I looking at the Instagram of some C list celebrity’s second cousin twice removed’s new dog????
Regardless, I can either chalk up my exhaustion, lack of productivity, crankiness, etc to a bunch of crap excuses, OR I can make better sleep a priority.
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Wow, I don’t even know where to start with this one. Sleep is so critical to maintaining homeostasis in the body. Our brains need it to function properly. Organs and tissue need it repair themselves. Hormones need it to regulate themselves.
Did you know that poor sleep is linked to obesity, and likewise the multitude of diseases associated with obesity– like heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease? (source)
Sleep regulates our bodies’ metabolism hormones, ghrelin (hungry) and leptin (full). (source)
Ever found yourself craving more sugar packed, carb heavy foods when you’re sleepy? This can be your body’s response to finding quick sourced energy because you’re sleep deprived.
Your blood sugar and insulin output are also impacted by sleep. Higher blood sugar can be a result of sleep deficiency, making this a risk for diabetes.
This is stating the obvious but most people are less productive when they’re tired. Multiply several sleepless nights and you’ve now reached a state of exhaustion. Our brains require sleep to function well! This might be no big deal if you’re hanging out watching TV all day, but what if you need to drive somewhere? Or operating even slightly dangerous equipment? By the way, “dangerous” can be as simple as a stove. There are so many potential accidents waiting to happen from sleep deprived folks just going about their daily activities.
It’s easy to shrug the importance of sleep off and chalk up being tired to part of adulthood. But if you’re really honest with yourself, how has lack of sleep negatively affected even the smallest situations in your life? Your work? What about your relationships? Your attention to your hobbies and interests?
What would life feel like if you made quality (not just more hours) of sleep a priority? How much value to you give to having sufficient energy each day?
Stress is a part of most people’s lives. Some stress is okay, but when it begins to continuously interfere with your sleep, it’s time to get real about developing better coping mechanisms. You might not be able to ditch the stressor(s) in your life. A lot of us find ourselves in predicaments at some point or another that really are out of our control. Just a part of living in this beautiful but sometimes crazy world. We CAN control our responses to them, however.
If your stress is leaving you sleepless for more than a few nights and none of the above mentioned ideas help, I suggest reaching out for assistance from a physician, designated medical practitioner, sleep specialist, psychologist, or someone who can direct you to the appropriate provider.
There is absolutely NOTHING to be ashamed of when it comes to seeking help for a better quality of life– sleep included!
Take care of yourself, friends.
To catching great Z’s and creating a #LifeInColor,
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult with your physician first before trying any new physical activity, supplement, or dietary changes.