Wednesday, December 5, 2007

How to add sleep to your nights

Appraising Your Success
The end of the week is a good time to review the past week of your SWEET Life and count up your accomplishments. Your goal is 5-6 times per week for each aspect of the SWEET Life: Sleep, Water, Eating, Exercise, and Tranquility. If you didn’t achieve some of your goals for the week, then next week, focus on those areas more and think about how to fulfill them more consistently.

How do you feel at the end of this week? Are you better rested? Do you feel relaxed? Are you more energetic? Do you feel generally healthier? Continue with the SWEET Life and you’ll experience all of these feelings!

Topic of the week -- How to add sleep to your nights

Many people take sleep for granted and don’t realize the importance of getting enough sleep. Sleep helps your memory, concentration, metabolism, weight management, safety, mood, and cardiovascular health. Adequate sleep also fends off disease.

Sleep is an important pillar of the SWEET Life because lack of sleep will likely cause you to skip exercising the next day; you might be too tired to focus on eating healthy and drinking enough water, and you might feel more stressed out, all due to a lack of sleep.

There are many negative affects of sleep deprivation. Of course, we all know how it can cause irritability, impatience and moodiness; moreover, it also causes an inability to focus, which can result in mistakes and accidents. Chronic sleep deprivation can alter your hormones, causing weight gain, weakening the immune systems and possibly causing hypertension and irregular heartbeat. Finally, fatigue can simply make you too tired to do the things you would like to do.
In order to feel rested and rejuvenated, most people need about eight hours sleep per night.

Here are some suggestions for how to get more sleep at night: think about the times you go to bed and have to wake up. Are they 8 hours apart? If not, decide which of those times you can change and do so. For example, for years I was an 11-7 sleeper. As soon as the 11:00 news came on, I got ready for bed and crawled in. My alarm was always set for 7:00 a.m. Nowadays, I get up at 6:00, but for a long time, I didn’t alter my nighttime routine. No wonder I was always tired! Now, I watch the 10:00 news and get ready and go to bed then. Decide which time you can modify, your bedtime or your waking time, in order to get eight hours of sleep consistently.

Other aspects of the SWEET Life affect sleep, too. For example, dehydration can make you feel sleepy, so if you feel tired during the day, drink a glass of water before grabbing a caffeinated beverage. In addition, eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods throughout the day will give you sustained energy, preventing any sugar or caffeine crashes mid-afternoon. Also, exercise has the effect of making you feel more alert during waking hours and sleep more deeply at night. Knowing that, I always ask myself how much (or how little) I’ve been exercising, if I have a spell of not sleeping well. Furthermore, stress can keep you awake, so do relaxing things, like reading, before you go to bed or if you wake up feeling stressed during the night. Reading will help your eyes feel tired and will take your mind off of what is making you feel stressed, allowing you to relax and fall asleep.

In conclusion, besides altering your bed- and waking times, in order to get enough sleep, take advantage of the other aspects of the SWEET Life to help you sleep more soundly at night and feel more awake during the day.


Have a SWEET week!


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