Finding balance in a chaotic world

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December 2017
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Getting Some Zzzzs

BedWe had thunderstorms roll through last night again which meant that I did not get very much sleep. My youngest is scared of thunder and the moment he hears a crack of it, he bolts out of bed and climbs upstairs to be with us. He typically goes right back to sleep but now there are little arms and elbows in my back. Secondarily, while I don’t get scared by the weather, the constant flashes in my eyes and the rolling thunder against the house tend to wake me up. So I’m dragging a little at work today.


This prompted me to do a little research on the benefits of a good night’s sleep. Truly part of keeping your life in balance is getting enough sleep at night. Being well rested helps you to accomplish more the next day and if your schedule is in balance with your available time, getting enough sleep each night should be doable. What I discovered was that besides not being tired, a good night’s sleep gives you numerous other benefits.


So hear are some of the benefits of getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night:


  • Healthier heart – lack of sleep has been determined to directly relate to worsening blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Possibly protect from cancer – melatonin is thought to produce cancer fighting chemicals and melatonin itself if produced in a dark environment.
  • Lower stress on your body – sleep deprivation is a form of stress.
  • Increase your memory – A good night’s sleep helps your brain to store and process the information it gained during the day.
  • Help lose weight – research has shown that hormones that control appetite are disrupted by a lack of sleep.
  • Lowers your risk of depression – Sleep impacts the amount of serotonin in your body and a low serotonin count means a greater chance of suffering from depression
  • Help you heal – Your body produces more protein (the basic building block of your body) while you sleep so body damage is repaired faster.


Of course, the problem is getting that sleep. Some suggestions to help you get the rest you need:


  • Drink less caffeine. Yesterday I drank a Dr. Pepper with dinner which I very rarely do. Typically I only drink water so the caffeine from the drink probably made it more difficult for me to fall asleep.
  • Try not to sleep very much during the day.
  • Don’t eat very much right before bed. The act of digestion kicks up your metabolism, making it harder to fall asleep.
  • Get into a sleep habit. Perform the same actions each night before bed and soon your body will recognize that it is time to go to sleep.
  • Stretch before getting in bed. This loosens up your muscles and helps you to relax.
  • Make it dark. Darkness is important in both falling asleep and increasing melatonin, which also helps you sleep.


So, make a priority to get enough sleep this week and see what a difference it makes.