Our year-long Get REAL challenge continues with week 3, getting real about sleep. I hope you’ll join me in putting more awareness into our lives and staying in the present moment. It’s amazing what a little attention to these wellness matters will do to our overall health and outlook.
I’m not an expert on these categories, but am researching them to improve my own lifestyle and wellness and sharing as a challenge. As a storyteller and strategist, I am certain the best story is our own lives and the best way to make that story a good one is to come up with the right strategy.
Look at past posts on Get Real TIME and Get Real FOOD. While I still OVERSCHEDULE, fight sugar cravings and love potatoes, I can already see a big difference in how I spend my time and being a conscious eater. I’ve been eating slower, chewing more and mostly eating clean, green and lean. I’ve also put yoga and meditation back into my to-do list and that helps me break up the monotony of my work day and focus on my breathing. Yes, I still have the occasional sweet or carb-loaded or cheesy meal. I don’t believe in cutting out fun food entirely but trying to replace fast food with fast casual with real meat and foods, cutting out processed foods and cooking more. I’ve actually enjoyed cooking more this last week and planning ahead helped me deal with the stress of it.
Now time for…sleep. Some eye-opening facts from the national sleep research center:
It should only take between 10-15 minutes to fall asleep at night. Less than five and you could be sleep-deprived. More than that, make a plan on how to wind down (with diet, exercise and reducing stress) without the aid of sleeping pills.
If you can’t wake up on your own in the morning, you could be sleep deprived.
Drinking before bed may help you fall asleep faster, but you’ll have a lighter sleep which isn’t good for you.
Some sleeping pills can be habit forming so check with our doctor and look at lifestyle first.
Many chronic snorers have sleep apnea, which means they stop breathing, which can lead to a greater risk of heart attack or stroke. Get that checked out!
Light and noise can impact your sleep cycle so cover up the digital lights in your room, turn off a “night light” if you truly don’t need it and use earplugs if the noise is out of your control.
5 Tips to Better Shut-Eye
1. Turn off the TV and technology up to an hour before you go to bed.
2. Do stretches, breathing exercises and/or yoga before bed to release pent-up energy and relax.
3. Drink plenty of water at dinner so you won’t be dehydrated and drink too much before bed which will cause you to have to wake up in the night. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, don’t have it after lunch. Switch to decaf (and know that even decaf has some caffeine in it.)
4. Limit sleeping pills and alcohol as they mess with your natural sleep cycle and could cause you to become dependent on them.
5. Cover up extra lights (even small ones from chargers/alarm clocks) and use earplugs to keep extra noise and light from disrupting your sleep cycle.
Try keeping a sleep log for a week as I’m doing to see what changes you could make to improve your sleep, which in turn improves your life. My first rule of business is getting earplugs to block out my husband snoring and remember to bring them on trips. I really like this site, SleepBetter.org by a doctor. I occasionally use Benadryl as a sleep aid and she recommends only 50mg and NOT every night.
Take this quiz on her site to get your ZZZZ score.
Helpful apps for getting REAL sleep in this round up by healthline. See if one might be right for you.
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