By Lucy DelSarto, Wellness Educator & Coach
Are you guilty of pushing through your days without adequate rest?
Most of us know that getting a good night’s sleep is important, but too few of us actually make those eight or so hours a priority. For many, a life with sleep debt is the norm. They have forgotten what “being really, truly rested” feels like.
To further complicate matters, stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, alarm clocks, and external lights—including those from electronic devices (smart phones, etc.) interfere with our natural sleep/wake cycle.
There are many causes of sleep deprivation and the impact, if not addressed, will have a high cost mentally, physically and financially.
Negative Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation is a key factor in accidents, as well as declining physical and mental health. In addition, lack of rest increases irritability and burnout in work and personal relationships. Demands for our time, attention and energy come from all directions. Failing to set boundaries can be disastrous.
If we take on more and fail to eliminate something, there is less of us to give. The result can include compromised health, resentment, sub-standard work performance, memory and cognitive impairment, and strained relationships.
The internet and technology has dramatically changed our habits. Within just a couple of decades, cell phones have transformed communication; we are available 24/7 and many can’t imagine being without their phone or computer.
Texting is an excellent example of how we have become addicted to technology with most keeping their phones near them when they sleep. A recent study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’s annual Internet Trends report indicated people check their phones 150 times a day.
The market for ‘energy products’ is ever growing but these are a Band-Aid at best and can cause serious health issues. I personally know a good friend who was taken to the ER for a heart issue that was contributed to drinking an “energy drink.” Fortunately, the lesson was learned and he will not make that mistake again.
Assess Your Individual Needs
Learning to be more self-disciplined in regards to rest and diet choices is a far better choice for increasing energy levels. We create our comfort zones and lifestyles. For some, this will require a change in habits. It’s important to pay attention to your own individual needs by assessing how you feel on different amounts of sleep.
• Are you productive, healthy and happy on seven hours of sleep? Or do you require more to feel rested?
• Do you have health issues such as being overweight? Are you at risk for any disease?
• Are you experiencing sleep issues?
• Do you depend on caffeine to get you through the day?
• Are you drinking 6-8 glasses of water daily?
Don’t Sacrifice Your Health for Wealth
Being busy often has a status of importance connected to it, as well as the draw to make more money. The sad truth is many are sacrificing their health to acquire more wealth and then will later spend their wealth in an effort to retrieve their health.
Work from your REST and REST from your work.
Where your time and money goes indicates your priorities. Are you making time for exercise, family or friends or do you find your frequent reply is, “I am so busy, I don’t have any time.”
Eight Tips to Pave the Way for Better Sleep:
• Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
• Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends.
• Get moving – walk or do some type of exercise every day.
• Evaluate your bedroom to ensure ideal temperature, sound and light.
• Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
• Best sleeping positions are on your back or side with pillow between knees for proper spine alignment.
• Beware of hidden sleep stealers such as alcohol and caffeine.
• Turn off electronics 30-60 minutes prior to bed.
My TCOY (Take Care of You) mantra is something to embrace as a daily reminder in living well: If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?
New Book Now Available
My newly released book, Putting It All Together – Living Well, is now available for purchase on Amazon.com. The book contains stories that touch the heart while providing guidance and inspiring the Take Care of You mindset.
Available on Amazon.
The TCOY Wellness Experinece