Health Magazine

Yet More Evidence Of How Important Sleep Is

By Gjosefsberg @gjosefsberg

sleepLast week was rough. I spent much of it with very little sleep, for a variety of reasons, and it showed. I was less than motivated to work out, I kept having urges to snack or binge and my general attitude towards life and everyone around me was very poor. In other words, last week was counterproductive to pretty much all of my goals.

This just emphasizes to me how important sleep is. Think about it for a second, all of my plans, healthy habits and goals for 2012 go right out the door when I don’t get enough sleep. I MUST get enough sleep or I can just forget about all my plans.

But A Few Days Ago You Said…

Yes, I said this new eating plan was giving me a lot more energy, and I still stand by that comment. I think if I was still eating the way I was eating last year, my sleep deprivation problem would be a lot worse. However, just eating healthy doesn’t mean I can get by on 3 hours of sleep a night.

So my main focus for this week is all about sleep. I’m getting to sleep on time, I optimized my morning routine to let me get a bit more sleep and my evening routine to let me get higher quality sleep.

The changes I’m making:

  • Brightness on my iPhone – Sounds silly but a little thing like this can make a big difference. Many studies show that our brains interpret bright lights as “daytime! Time to be awake!” Since I like to read books on my iPhone’s kindle app before going to sleep, changing that display to be darker means my brain is not confused by staring at a bright light before going to bed. I’ve been doing this for a few days now and I’ve noticed a big difference in how long it takes me to get to sleep.
  • Not eating spicy things for dinner – I love spicy stuff, the hotter the better, but my stomach tends to err… keep me busy at night if I eat too much of it. So no more hot sauce laden burrito bowls at 9pm.
  • No more drinking late – On a similar note to the last item, I stopped my water consumption sometime around 8pm. That gives me plenty of time to flush that water out and it means I don’t wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.
  • Hack your life! – Ok, so maybe it’s not very dramatic, but a few minor changes in my morning routine allowed me to get 20 minutes more sleep a day. Doesn’t sound like much? 20 minutes is actually 5% of my daily required sleep (7 hours time 60 minutes each means I should be sleeping 420 minutes a day). Wouldn’t you take a free 5% raise? Or a free 5% more gas mileage? Or a free 5% higher interest on your savings account? Of course you would and so would I. So a free 5% more sleep is awesome!

Anyway, none of these are major changes, but combined, they should allow me to get back on track with healthy sleep and a healthy lifestyle.


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