Why sleep is the most overrated part of our well-being
We hear it all the time: get at least 8 hours of sleep. It's "good" for you.
But, in our overscheduled and excessively "busy" world, it seems like there is never enough time to do all of the things we need. And so, sleep is our first thing to go.
Most of us sacrifice sleep knowingly - by staying up late to put the finishing touches on that presentation (or binge watch Stranger Things). Sometimes though, sleep just doesn't come. Especially during periods of stress, as much as we try, we end up laying in the dark for hours...wide awake.
I have always been able to fall asleep easily no matter where I am (cars included--some may call it a gift). Yet, as I started to pile on more and more work, it felt like there was never enough time in the day. And then, the stress started. Soon enough, I was that person I just described.
But, I know that getting enough good sleep is extremely important to the way that my body and mind function. It actually dictates my productivity, mood and eating habits (yes!).
So, I started doing a bit of research about the importance of a good night's sleep, and how to get one. Here's what I found:
What a good night's sleep does to your body
A good night's sleep isn't just about waking up with some crazy dreams. It's actually our body's best form of healing.
It's been really interesting to learn that our body knows intuitively how to repair itself when something's wrong--without us getting in the way. Sleep is a perfect example of that.
It's a period of time where our physical body is resetting; blood vessels are being rejuvenated and our brain is making connections about what we experienced during the day.
When you are sleep deficient, you actually are at a higher risk of developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke and even cancer, . Think about it: sleep is like your internal body's version of a shower. If you don't clean and reset from all the stuff that builds up over time--something will start to stink.
Not to mention, more sleep leads to better moods (we always need more of those, right?!).
So, how can we get a good night's sleep?
There are lots of different reasons why it's difficult to find sleep. Whether we're distracted or stressed, sometimes sleep can feel like a magical place that doesn't exist.
I have a few tried and true methods that help me find sleep even on the most lively evenings (in my pjs!):
- Create night-time rituals that help you relax over a period of time (e.g. fask masks, reading, writing in your journal, meditating, listening to a podcast)
- Have a warming drink such as golden milk or decaffeinated tea
- Create your bed(room) into a snuggle haven (that means keep it off limits for work/computer-based things!)
- Figure out the right temperature and props you need to be best suited for sleep - this seems simple and silly but helps enormously
- Take note of what you eat, drink and do during the day that helps or wreaks havoc on your sleep cycle (that could be time of day for afternoon coffee, when you work out, etc)
These are just some of my favorite rituals that help me fall asleep easily. These practices are hugely individual, so take what you like and leave what you don't. I'd also love to hear anything that you do that I don't have here already!
So remember, a good night's sleep isn't selfish or indulgent; it's a necessary factor to maintaining our overall wellness. Cozy and cuddle up for the most important night of your life!