but I don’t wanna go to bed yet!

Yesterday I rested as was suggested by my very wise and kind physician Dr. Edmund West. I didn’t sleep all day, but I stayed in bed and rested as promised and did not spend much time on my computer either (did you know ‘blue light’ from computer screens slows the production of melatonin?).

I began to read a few magazines that I had put off reading due to lack of time (sound familiar?)…and came across several on sleep as they related to Deprivation, Health and Energy. I knew I hadn’t been sleeping well for several weeks in a row but I didn’t take that as a serious issue. So let me say up front:

Sleep is just as important as nutrition, exercise and stress management.

As I read, I realized I had been an idiot where sleep was concerned. You see I was depriving myself of enough sleep when my system was already being compromised by not feeling well (double idiot). But I had bought into the ‘ever ready battery’ syndrome. I just kept going, thinking it didn’t matter.

Well, it matters. Sleep deprivation has become a widespread phenomenon; so much so that some states have actually enacted legislation that defines “fatigued driving” in similar terms to drunk driving according to registered dietitian, Timi Gustafson.

That’s probably a good thing. When I was trying to run all my errands the other day, I was seriously falling asleep at stop lights! And that’s what brought my car into my Doctors parking lot; I realized that I was no longer just lying to myself, I was also endangering others. Do you ever do seriously unsafe things when you’re tired because you believe you can beat the odds? Are you a member of the idiots club too?!

Clinical studies have shown that sleep deprivation is a contributing factor to obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, among other things – like DEATH by car accident!

Sleeplessness can lead to imbalances in the release of stress hormones such as cortisol* too – remember that chemical from a recent blog? Potential consequences include a weakened immune system, and risk of several chronic illnesses as well as psychological effects; ever experience these?

  • Memory loss,
  • Mood swings,
  • Depression.

Chronically not getting enough sleep can also have a significant impact on my life expectancy – whoa, now its getting personal!

Of course the benefits of getting enough rest on a daily basis are great as well. Evidence includes higher quality of life and the ability to face challenges with greater ease and energy. You’ll resolve issues quicker as well as reduce negative patterns, emotions and behaviors too.

So my chances of a car accident is reduced (and even more reduced if OTHER DRIVERS get more sleep too) and I’ll be happier, and may not die of a heart attack. Yea, I’m in.

You want to be a better colleague, parent, companion, lover?  Then go to bed!

And when you have time (wink, wink), you might want to check out registered dietitian, Timi Gustafson’s great book!

*Timi Gustafson R.D. is a clinical dietitian and author of the book “The Healthy Diner – How to Eat Right and Still Have Fun”®

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Beth Allen Kintner
    Dec 09, 2011 @ 22:06:02

    As a mom of young kids, sleep is a big issue for me! I sleep like a rock since having kids, but often don’t get uninterrupted sleep. And to make matters worse, I am often up way too late doing my mommy chores! I know going to bed earlier is what I need to do for myself!

    Reply

    • shakeupyourlife
      Dec 10, 2011 @ 09:26:07

      Beth,
      I remember those days all too well. The chores can wait, truly. Go to bed when they do or when hubby does if he’s home…better yet, split whatever chores are left between you after the kids go down and then go to bed together. The snuggle* will be well worth it. It will help you sleep, strengthen your relationship, and make you a better mommy in the morning.
      Raeleen

      Reply

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