I do a pretty good job of avoiding it year round, but the plague finally caught up to me. I’ve been really sick for the past couple of weeks and if I was to take my own advice and listen to my body…naps would have been an everyday activity for me.
I knew that my body needed the extra rest to fight off the nasty germs. And while we’re quick to stock up on soups and medications when we feel ill, the truth is that sleep is the cheapest and most effective way to mend our bodies when we get sick.
Full testimonial: at the peak of my cold, I slept for nearly a full day. I woke up feeling a bit groggy, but I felt much better and more like myself than I had in days! Sleep works!
The more sleep we get, the more time our body has to restore and revitalize itself so we feel better. More rest equals a better health, better brain power, and more productivity in our day to day lives and for me specifically, less compulsive eating to gain energy.
But sadly, we don’t get enough of it.
We are a zombie nation
According to a recent study from Project Sleep (Dairy Farmers of Canada), 59 percent of Canadians aren’t getting enough sleep; 74 percent of us get less than the minimum recommendation of 7 hours per night.
It’s no wonder why so many of us complain about being tired all the time!
We’re a nation of zombies, exhausted from burnout. We’re burning our candle at both ends, overloading ourselves with too much responsibility. And we work past our bedtime on a regular basis in order to get more done. But actually, we’re going nowhere fast.
Truth is, we actually can’t think straight, because we’re so sleep deprived. Our brain doesn’t work properly, we aren’t capable of making good decisions, and we’re not performing as well as we could be if we just allowed ourselves to get some damn sleep.
Body off, brain on
Our body needs the proper amount of sleep to function properly.
A study from the University of Rochester found that our brain uses our sleep time as an opportunity to cleanse itself of toxins that appear through daily neural activity. But sleepy time is the only time your brain can detox itself from these toxins, so if you’re not getting enough sleep, these toxic proteins are building up and getting in the way of your ability to think clearly.
We all want to feel and look better, right? We want to be a better employee or boss, a better partner, a better friend.Without enough sleep, it’s pretty tough to be any of those things. (George will tell you that I am not a pleasant person to be around when I haven’t had enough sleep in a while).
We need sleep in order to function properly. The less sleep we get, the more at risk we are for increased stress, uncontrollable emotions, and lower productivity levels. More importantly, sleep deprivation is a major catalyst for serious health problems including high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and type 2 diabetes. Other side effects from a serious lack of sleep include a weakened immune system, obesity, and early death.
Well, that all sounds quite unpleasant.
Seriously, it’s about time to get some sleep!
Going, going, yawn
The bad news is that you can’t actually catch up on lost sleep. All those hours you spent working when you should have just gone to bed is lost sleep you’ll never make up for, even if you pull a Rip Van Winkle or pretend you’re Sleeping Beauty.
But what you can do is practice better habits to fight sleep deprivation, so you get the rest you need (and deserve) and function better in all areas of your life.
Here’s 3 things you can try:
Create a bedtime ritual
- – Give yourself a bedtime – regardless of how old you are. Allow yourself time to wind down from the day and go to bed around the same time every night. DO it for 2 weeks and see what happens. I have a client who set an appointment alarm on her computer for 8:00pm that states: “Time to WIND DOWN offline, breathe, savour something”. She needed to remind herself to turn it off and not do “just one more email, task, thing”.
Stick to morning coffee (tea counts too)
- – When you drink a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, some of the caffeine will still be in your system even 12 hours later! Limit the amount of caffeine you drink to the early hours of your day so it doesn’t get in the way of your sleep later on.
Treat yourself to a siesta
- – Naps are a mini-reboot of your system, restoring our alertness and productivity when we start to feel the effects of a midday slump. 20-30 minutes is usually enough. I can hear some of you now… “Janice, it takes me more than that to unwind enough to fall asleep.” SO I invite you to just sit quiet, do nothing for the 20 minutes, and let yourself recharge.
Stop trying to live your life on minimal hours of sleep. It’s not good for you! Even if you think you’re good at it, you’re more likely just too worn out to notice the actual effect it’s having on you – until it’s too late and suddenly you’re burnt out and sick. OOPS.
It may take some time to adjust your sleeping schedule and better sleeping habits, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Remember: More sleep equals to a better version of YOU – as an employee, boss, partner, friend…
Set yourself up for success! BE your best! Go to bed and rest well!
I’m Janice Otremba, a professional speaker, facilitator and coach who specializes in Beating Burnout, Lowering Stress and Powering Up Your Happy! Let’s kick your butt into gear with simple, sound advice for beating burnout and powering up your happy. Book a free 15-minute consultation call with me to get started!
Image courtesy of Stoonn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net