Friday, January 20, 2017

Get Your Zzzs

I’m a Sleep Zealot.

If I don’t get enough sleep, I turn into a crazy person who is grumpy, snippy and irate.
I’m overly emotional to the point that I’m liable to tear up at a Hallmark commercial.
I lose my keys, my phone and my mind. I also lose all control around food so there’s no resisting the donuts at work.

One of my resolutions for 2017 is to Be Me. When it comes to sleep, that means the following:

·   On a Friday night, you’ll often find me at home in my jammies, curled up with Netflix and a glass of wine. I sometimes suffer from FOMO when I get on Facebook or Instagram and see all the fun stuff I'm missing. But when I’m tired, I aim for a relaxing evening and an early bedtime.

·   During the week, I turn off the TV at 9 p.m. and get into bed with a good book. NO technology and lights out at 10-ish.

·   On Saturdays and Sundays, I don’t set an alarm. I still get up relatively early, but I don’t jump out of bed and get moving. Every other morning of the week I'm up before the sun, dressed and out the door early so on the weekend, I’m inclined to relax.

·   Occasionally, when I’m really, really exhausted, I’ll go to sleep at 9 p.m.  And it feels great.

Sleep, glorious sleep!

Turns out, there’s science to back up my obsession with sleep.

Sleep deprivation is bad for your health.

Fatigue is blamed for car crashes and workplace accidents. Sleep deprivation puts you at risk for serious health problems like heart attack, high blood pressure and depression. Sleep loss impacts the way your brain functions, making it harder to concentrate, solve problems and make decisions. Lack of sleep is also related to an increase in hunger and appetite.

Now I understand why, when I’m tired, I reach for the M&Ms.

In our 24/7 culture, it’s a badge of honor to talk about how tired we are or how well we function on just a few hours of sleep. Yet, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, you also aren’t in a position to judge how well you’re getting along. You may be impaired and not realize it.

In her book, The Sleep Revolution, Arianna Huffington details the physical, emotional and financial costs of sleep loss. She writes:

Scientists are resoundingly confirming what our ancestors knew    instinctively: that our sleep is not empty time. Sleep is a time of intense neurological activity - a rich time of renewal, memory consolidation, brain and neurochemical cleansing, and cognitive maintenance. Properly appraised, our sleeping time is as valuable a commodity as the time we are awake. In fact, getting the right amount of sleep enhances the quality of every minute we spend
with our eyes open.

My magic sleep number is 7.5 hours. After a night like that, I can take on the world.

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