Habit #5: You Can Sleep When You’re Dead (which will happen a lot faster if you don’t get enough sleep while you’re alive).
by Amanda Hepp Jackson, SHOP blogger
Y’all. Sleep. OMG. I miss it so much. Do me a favor--if you do not have a newborn (or other equally legit reasons for not sleeping through the night), for the love of all things holy, have some respect and don’t take your sleep for granted by snapchatting with your bae at 1:00 in the morning. Or watching just one more episode of Orange is the New Black so you’re caught up when the new season hits Netflix in 11 days. Or mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. Or the thousand other things that keep you from getting a restful and solid 7-9 hours of sleep a night.Sleep is super important to our health and wellbeing. Consider this: sleep deprivation is used as a torture technique. TOR-TURE. Like to get information out of terrorists kind of torture. And yet, we willingly deprive ourselves of sleep on the reg. Seems a little silly/certifiably insane, right??There is a shit ton of info out there about sleep and how it impacts us--especially in our modern society where we have so many entertaining things to keep us awake later than our bodies would want. Before TV, people went to sleep waaaaay earlier than we do now. I mean, it was boring, so people went to bed. But NOW we have people in our lives like Frank Underwood, Steve Harvey, and those two dudes on American Pickers. This (and the Internet, obviously) has really disrupted our natural sleep patterns. And that means we have to make the effort to recreate a good, healthy sleep cycle.Here’s why it’s important to make that effort:
- a lack of sleep (less than 7.5 hours per night) is associated with obesity and Type 2 diabetes
- a lack of sleep contributes to mood swings, lowered cognitive abilities, and poor memory
- you can’t work out nearly as hard when you’re tired, and it’s likely your work is suffering as well; when sleep is not optimal, productivity in everything falls way down
For more on the science side of this, go here.Soooo, if you haven’t guessed it yet, Habit #5 is: get 7-9 quality hours of sleep each night.Here’s how you do it:
- Don’t stay up past midnight (just like gremlins and food--we all know what happens when they eat after midnight and it ain’t pretty.)
- This is a big one and maybe one of the hardest: turn off ALL SCREENS (including TV) at least 30 minutes before bedtime. That blue light really effs with our heads and makes our bodies think it’s some kinda daylight and then you don’t sleep as deeply as your body needs.
- Eat well (by following previous habits).
- No caffeine after 2:00.
- Make sure your room is dark, cool, and clean. It should be a place of calm and relaxation.
- Do your best to wake up “naturally.” Though effective, a blaring alarm is not the best way to come out of your sleep cycle. There are all kinds of apps and whatnot that will help arouse you more naturally. I also learned about fancy alarm clocks that gradually make your room lighter so it’s like manufacturing the sunrise. I’ve never used one, but I totally would--it sounds amazing. For now, I wake up to the screams of a hungry baby, so there’s that. This article has lots of good suggestions on how to wake up gradually.
- Make a sleep routine just like you do with kids. Start the sleep train at the same time every night and follow a ritual (one that does not include screens, food, or drink too close to bedtime). Take a hot bath, floss and brush your teeth, read a book (that isn’t on a tablet--get a Kindle Paperwhite or go retro and read a book with real live pages that you can touch and turn).
- And speaking of kids, don’t have them.
- Just kidding. That was my sleep deprivation talking. Kids are the best thing ever.