Sleep beautiful sleep. It is something we all do every night (unless your schedule dictates otherwise). Sleep is critically important to our health but we as Americans are getting less and less of it. Sleep is crucial to your well-being, it’s when our bodies, rest, recharge, regenerate and renew. It’s the time our subconscious has a chance to work out our challenges we are faced with. If you aren’t taking the care to get enough you are seriously holding up progress.
Staying up late, watching TV, falling asleep on the couch, eating food past 8:00pm, drinking a couple glasses of wine or just a few beers every night to “wind down” all hinder sleep. Restful sleep. Lying in bed replaying all the “bad” things that happened that day, or the “bad” things that may or may not happen in the future all lead to changes in your hormone levels. Our bodies release the stress hormone cortisol. Stress and fear cause our bodies to secrete cortisol. Long story short cortisol ,which is sectreted by the adrenal gland, has a hand in:
•Regulating blood pressure
•Release of insulin for blood sugar regulation
•Function of the immune system
•Reaction to inflamation
While you can see, cortisol is very important to our bodies functioning correctly, but with over-use , things start breaking down. Not getting proper rest will cause your cortisol levels to rise. In turn these symptoms begin to appear:
•Thinking becomes clouded
•Blood sugar imbalances
•Higher blood pressure
•Lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body, slowed wound healing, and other health consequences
•Increased abdominal fat. Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks, strokes, and higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems!
Relaxation and sleep are the most effective ways to lower your cortisol levels. Make sleep important. Little changes make a huge difference. Treat your body like it’s the only one you get, well, because it is!!
Set a bed time. You do it for your children, do it for yourself.
Allow 7-9 hours to sleep each night.
Make a ritual out of it. Something special you do for yourself. Drink some camomile tea, read something pleasant, remove the tv from your bedroom.
Purchase a comfortable mattress and sheets. You are going to spend half your life doing this, you might as well be comfy.
Sleep in a dark room. Shut the blinds, no nightlights. You will sleep much more soundly.
Have a fan or water fountain for white noise.
Spend the last five minutes before you fall asleep thinking positive thoughts. This is what our minds stew on all night. Let them be happy positive thoughts. Stressing about life before you fall asleep doesn’t change the outcome. Positive thoughts just might, think everything is going to be ok because one way or another, it will be.
Living a healthy life is very simple when it comes down to it. A little common sense goes a long way. We know we need exercise, a clean diet and plenty of sleep. If you are not getting these things you are on the path to disease. You control your health. Now go get your pillow and blankie. Sweet dreams.