I’m thrilled beyond belief to report that for the first time in a year and a half, I have slept eight hours in a row three nights…in a ROW. I can hardly contain how happy I am. I mean beyond belief happy. I feel like a completely new person. It’s as if by going to sleep, I am actually waking up for the first time in a long, long, lonnnnnnng time.
In the meantime, however, I’m going to relish every, single second of glorious, wondrous, beautiful, Shining Moment sleep!
There are a lot of health benefits, by the way, to sleeping. As it turns out, sleeping is seriously good for us! Here are my top 5 benefits of sleeping:
- Reduce stress- When your body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress. The body’s functions are put on high alert which causes an increase in blood pressure and a production of stress hormones. Higher blood pressure increases your risk for heart attacks and strokes. The stress hormones also, unfortunately, make it harder for you to sleep.
- Reduce Inflammation & Repair the Body – The increase in stress hormones raises the level of inflammation in our body, also creating more risk for heart-related conditions, as well as cancer and diabetes. In terms of repair, while sleeping our body produces extra protein molecules while that help strengthen our ability to fight infection and stay healthy.
- Improve Memory– While our body may be resting, our brain is busy processing the day, making connections between events, sensory input, feelings and memories. Dreams and deep sleep are an important time for our brain to make memories and links. Getting more quality sleep will help us remember and process things better.
- Improve Creativity –In addition to consolidating memories, or making them stronger, our brain appears to reorganize and restructure them, which may result in more creativity as well. Researchers have found that people seem to strengthen the emotional components of a memory during sleep, which may help spur the creative process.
- Maintain a healthy weight-Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same sectors of the brain. Researchers have found that people who sleep less than seven hours per night are more likely to be overweight or obese. It is thought that the lack of sleep impacts the balance of hormones in the body that affect appetite. The hormones ghrelin and leptin, important for the regulation of appetite, have been found to be disrupted by lack of sleep.
And because I’m ALL about SLEEP and feeling quite rested (WTF is that, I’ve been wondering for the past few years!), I thought I’d share with you my top 5 tips for getting myself to bed on time:
- First things first: give yourself a specific bedtime. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every night, so take a look at your wake-up time, and work backward.
- Don’t wait until you feel sleepyto think “Hey, maybe it’s about time for bed.” It’s all too easy to keep yourself alert and busy way past the time that you should be asleep.
- Stay away from the internet for at least an hour before your bedtime. Television, too, but I think the internet is even more apt to make me feel artificially wide awake. I used to try to go through my emails one last time before bed, to get a jump on the morning, but I realized that this stimulating activity made it much harder to go to sleep.
- Don’t drink caffeine for several hours before your bedtime or even better, not at ALL! Even drinking it in the morning can make a big difference in nighttime sleep.
- Get ready before bed well ahead of time. I have been known to put on my pajamas right after dinner. Not the sexiest look (well, sometimes I try), but getting ready for bed early helps guide me in the right direction.
- Create a bedtime ritual, and do it at the same time every night. Maybe you fix yourself a cup of herbal tea, maybe you read in bed, maybe you do an evening tidy-up. By doing the same thing every night, you will cue yourself to start heading to bed.
Wishing you some very, very sweet, Shining Moment dreams!