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Get Plenty of Rest

I created this rule before I had kids, back when I could sleep whenever and however long I wanted. After spending nearly four years in a sleep deprived state, I have a whole new appreciation for this rule. I only recently started getting more/better sleep, and I am astonished at how much better I feel. During my four years of sleep deprivation, I knew I was tired, but that state became so normal that I forgot what it felt like to feel rested.

Rested is better. No two ways about it!

Did you know that rest is one of the five requirements the body needs in order to survive?  It’s true!

Rest not only gives our bodies time to recover, but it provides the opportunity for our brains to flush away toxins (a metabolic byproduct) that build up throughout the day.

Brain fog is legit, and the only way to fix it is to sleep.

When we’re tired our cognitive abilities are impaired as well as our judgement, making it harder to make choices that allow us to feel good.

Our bodies naturally crave foods that are high in sugar and fat for quick fuel so they have the energy to get us through our day. When we eat those foods, we get tired again, and then we find ourselves in that crave-crash cycle and can’t figure out how to get out.

Or we get caught in the tired, caffeinate, sleep like crap, repeat, cycle.

When we’re not getting enough sleep we’re setting ourselves up to feel worse.

If you’re having trouble sleeping it’s important to identify why and remedy it quickly.

If you’re struggling to get enough sleep, can’t shut your brain off when you lie down, or don’t wake up feeling rested here are some things to consider…

  • Make going to bed a priority. Chose a time that allows you to be in bed for at least 7.5 hours. That means if you get up at 6am, you should be in bed by 10:30.
  • If you lie in bed at night wishing you could fall asleep but your brain won’t cooperate, three things could be happening that should be addressed…
    1. Too much caffeine throughout the day, or too late in the day (part of that vicious cycle)
    2. Too much stress/anxiety
    3. Too much stimulation before bed

To remedy these…

  1. Cut way back on caffeine. The first few days will suck, but if caffeine is the issue, I promise you will sleep better, wake up rested and not need to consume it throughout the day in order to stay awake. The few days of hard will be worth it.
  2. Find ways to deal with the stress and anxiety during waking hours. Address the issues instead of letting them fester. Meditate. Practice deep breathing exercises. Make yourself a priority.
  3. Don’t watch stressful TV or movies, get worked up on social media, or fight with your spouse before bed.  Avoid self-help and work-related reading material before bed. Create a wind-down ritual that involves a transition from life’s responsibilities, frustrations, and stressors, to a time of rest and relaxation. Have a glass of wine, take a hot bath or shower, read a fiction novel that isn’t going to get you hyped up.
  • Do you have sleep apnea? This should definitely be considered if you snore and/or wake up during the night gasping for air…or not– but have trouble falling back to sleep. If your body is having trouble breathing, your body could be releasing adrenaline as it’s fighting for survival.

5

Consider a sleep test. Snoring isn’t just annoying to your partner, it can be a real health hazard, one that affects weight and life expectancy. If you toss and turn at night, have nightmares, wake up short of breath in the middle of the night, wake up tired, or with a dry mouth or sore throat—please, PLEASE get checked out. Sleep apnea is not something to take lightly.

A comfy bed and pillow that support your joints can make a huge difference too. Some people swear by melatonin, others (myself included) like magnesium—especially if you get leg cramps. But talk to your doctor before starting any kind of supplementation, even natural products can be dangerous, especially if you take prescription drugs.

Whatever you do, make every effort to get plenty of rest. Your brain and your body will thank you!