In the past I have discussed the need to exercise, eat right and drinking plenty of water of to stay fit. Today I want to address sleep,next week I will talk about rest. which may seem like the same thing but in reality are rather different.
Let’s talk about sleep and how our society frowns upon it. Face it, we live in a world where people brag about how little sleep they get. When I ask one of the young adults in the group I lead at church how they are doing. The answer is usually, “Tired.”. We have scheduled our lives to the point where we continually push back getting sleep. It is seen as an accomplishment. I don’t understand why though. When I do not get the amount of sleep I need ( usually around 7 hours) I know I am not able to think clearly, my filter is off and my temperament changes.
Knowing these things about myself, I make sure to schedule a bed time for myself. Yes, I know growing up we believed one of the marks of adulthood was not having a bed time. Having a set bed time though is a mark of being a grown up. It’s deciding to do what I need to do so I can have the better day. Having a set time to sleep has several benefits for me. First, just as my body knows around what I time I need to wake up, it learns what time I go to sleep. I get the amount of sleep I do need, which gives me the mental and physical energy needed for the next day.
Getting the sleep you need to recharge is key in staying fit. When I was leading at camp this summer, I found myself eating a lot more than usual. I did not understand why until I came across this article explaining that to compensate for lack of sleep the body will demand more food in order for you to have enough energy. It made sense! I was not sleeping well in a room full of middle school girls on an air mattress ( a discomfort which was totally worth it!). So in response my body was demanding more food. Take a second to think about that. If you are not getting the sleep you should how is your body compensating?
Not only is eating too much a potential consequence of lack of sleep but getting sick can be too. With little time for your body to recharge, it can make you susceptible to more colds and flu’s because the body’s natural defenses are not in full force. They are stretched too thin.
Take naps. I found this chart to be helpful in figuring out how long a nap to take. A ten minute cat nap can do a world of good! Even if all you do is lay down and not sleep, your mind and body get to just stop for a few minutes. I always think of other cultures that tend to have siestas or just shut down in the afternoons. Not everyone may be sleeping but they sure are resting or taking the time to enjoy their mid day meal. Then recharged they go back to work.
Brag about how much sleep you are getting and how well rested you feel the next time you hear someone bragging about how little sleep they got. What helps you to get the sleep you need?
I do want to concede that I do not struggle with insomnia or have issues staying asleep. This particular blog is geared for those who believe getting less sleep is better. I also do not have children or an overnight work schedule ( but I have in the past so I understand how hard it is to get the sleep you need.) If you are having a hard time sleeping please seek medical help, proper sleep is important for your overall health.