Our culture is a culture of busy, busy, busy. Being a workaholic is actually praised, even when that lifestyle disrupts your personal life. Pulling all nighters is looked at as "hard-working" and "so dedicated". But, if we stop and think about it, pulling all nighters for a job, means you're not dedicated to your body's well being or mental well being. Even if short-term your body can keep up, in the long term it will not. Take the time to sleep, guilt-free, and you'll actually accomplish more in your day. It's a win-win.
Getting sleep every single night seems to be a challenge, but it is sooo needed for our bodies! That's why Rule #6 is Sleep 7 Hours Nightly. Here are some reasons why:
- Studies show that poor sleep habits increase chances of weight gain.
- With adequate sleep, the body produces more of the hormone Leptin. Leptin sends signals to the brain when full. Without adequate sleep, the body produces less Leptin and more Ghrelin, which is the hormone that signals if you're hungry. This is why we are hungrier with lack of sleep.
- The less we sleep, the more we eat. If we are in bed at 11pm, our body is recovering and resting. If we are up at 2am still binging the latest TV show, there's a very good chance that we are still snacking. Our bodies know that by that time we should be resting, which means what we are consuming is being stored instead of processed for energy.
- When we are fully rested, we are more energized. This helps us walk more, be more active, and work on getting those 10,000 steps!
There are so many more reasons on why proper sleep is important, but hopefully those encourage you to begin making sure you always get 7 hours of rest. Some tips and tricks to falling asleep early:
- Set a bedtime: I always go back to the fact that we are still like kids. Set yourself a bed time. If it's 10pm or 11pm, set that early in the day, so you know in your mind when you need to start winding down.
- Stop using digital devices one hour before bed. Yes, that means no scrolling social media in bed anymore!
- If you swap out your phone with reading, make sure to stop 30 minutes before you want to fall asleep. Even though reading is definitely better before bed than the phone, it still keeps the brain running. We want the brain to have time to calm down without distractions so it knows it's time for rest.
- Use those final 30 minutes for any pre-ritual patterns. Do a face cleanse, brush your teeth, go to the bathroom, drink a glass of water, and then get into bed.
Creating a ritual or pattern, as well as trying to go to bed at the same time every night, will train your body when it is time to rest. This will make it easier to fit your 7 hours of sleep in, and actually fall asleep quickly.
Kim Shapira RD