Look, the world is evolving, and people everywhere are benefiting increasingly more. Opportunity has never been as available – and we’re living longer and healthier lives. But there’s also a dark side. Millions are restless, not only in their lives, but also in their minds, bodies, and spirts. They don’t feel satisfied, and they make mistakes. Why? They don’t sleep well.
People ask me all the time how to be happy. And the first secret I ask is, “How do you sleep?” We’re driven primarily by what we feel we want – and ignore our limitations, which brings on anxiety. If we are worn down with sleep deprivation and anxiety, how can we face our happiness or lack of it? And how can we improve any area of our life, especially when it requires enormous brain energy? What happens when we don’t prioritize sleep is pretty simple: EVERYTHING YOU DON’T WANT TO HAPPEN!
“Sleeping is a good place to start to improve every part of your life.”
This article is Part 1 of a series of articles to follow for anyone who wants to learn how to prioritize their life for better health – and it starts with the basics. We are inundated with so much information at all hours of the day that it’s easy to get a skewed vision of what really affects us. So, if you’ll give me about 15 minutes of your time right now, that’ll be enough to prove a couple points and keep you interested.
Let’s start with sleep. Do you believe you can’t sleep? That your age, personality type, genetics, or stress all dictate sleep quality or duration?
Maybe you think you’re not tired? Your body does adjust regardless that it’s tired. Everyone else around you get by on 6-hours of sleep. Everyone else bites the bullet and works too much, pulls the all-nighters studying for exams, but they’re happy. Everyone else knows that successful people have no choice but to push hard. Everyone else is living the orgasmic life. But for some reason, you’re not.
Again, with the overwhelming influences, many of us underestimate sleep. We see it as some make-your-own schedule according to one evaluation: “I just can’t sleep more than “x” hours each night.” “I’m too busy and have no choice.” And because we believe it, we accept it. As a result, our bodies become accustomed to sleep deprivation – and we pay the price with declining health, which is defined as you continue to read.
Perhaps you sleep well, drink, move, and eat?
Cheers if that’s a yes! You’re living better than many – and if that’s a no, enjoy this positive gift of information from me to you for sweet dream.
If you like being tired, grumpy, and at a higher risk for heart attacks, then ignore this article. But if you have the smallest wish to wake up feeling like new, or at least not old, then read and decide for yourself. But try to put “everyone else” out of your mind. Learning to prioritize yourself is not easy, but it’s crucial for your life.
If you’re a poor sleeper, I can hear it now. “How are you supposed to sleep when the last time you remember sleeping was in infancy?”
Is it hard to relax before bedtime when you’ve been on the go until your head hits the pillow? Or, how are you supposed to sleep when you’re a night owl? You’ve always had kindred spirits with vampires? You’re just not a good sleeper? As I just mentioned: your age, you say. Stress – children – single parents – overworked – unhappy – genetics – and everyone else is fine, so why not you, too?
In retrospect, I knew a woman who had this clear and realistic view about life – with a freedom I admired. In 47 years, she’d prioritized her health needs and never lost a night’s sleep – she fell asleep quickly and slept through the night like a baby! Until! Dreaded turmoil invaded her life and she was not able to practice self-care. She found herself unable to go to sleep, stay asleep, sleep peacefully, and of course, became chronically exhausted. Sound familiar? She did find a solution and it’s all spelled out in this series of articles.
It really doesn’t matter why you’re not sleeping – the end results are similar: if you’re not practicing self-care with a smart plan of how to prioritize yourself, you lose the edge that makes you better, smarter, healthier, and more successful.
Many factors make sleeping difficult. The obvious: too much on the mind, stress, worry, pain, and unknown attraction to the moon. The list is long, and getting enough sleep is a massive problem for millions. According to Sleephealth.org it’s estimated that sleep-related problems affect 50-70 million Americans of all ages.
When I think of all of the disastrous results I’ve seen or people have spoken to me about, many (or most) of them were absolutely sure they were fine in their sleepless lives.
Something mysterious happens with a tired brain at night – does this ring a bell?
Our brains in the daytime: “Oh hum, ah yeah, sigh, laugh, chomp chomp yummy snack!”
Our brains at nighttime: “I wonder why the gravity of Earth at the equator is 9.789 m/ s2…its gravity field is more precisely than ever to monitor the terrestrial water cycle to save the planet!”
In these scenarios, prioritizing yourself is difficult, but can be done.
This humorous example of our brain at night- time is usually related to those who are too busy to ever slow down or too stressed to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it can also be a brain that’s hungry or thirsty.
THREE THINGS THAT SUBSTANTIALLY INFLUENCE SLEEP
Sleep deprivation can cause or influence:
- Excess daytime sleepiness
- Accidents from lack of attention
- Out of balance in a tired stooper
- In people over 45, less than 6 hours of sleep
increases the chances for strokes and heart attacks: according to the American Heart Association.
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
- Weight gain
- Increase insulin resistance
- Disrupts hormones, including serotonin, dopamine, and cortisol, that affect thought, mood, and energy
- Storing and making memories is harder • Less creative
- Key areas of the brain are left in an “always-on” state of activation
- Live less productive lives
- 1.5 hours less sleep daily reduces daytime alertness by about one-third as measured by the Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT). • Lowered sex drive
WOMEN ARE AT HIGHER RISK
Women are at more risk with less sleep. The National Sleep Foundation says, that because women are better multitaskers than men are, females need more sleep. Women’s ability to handle bundled thoughts and projects at once means they use more of their actual brain than men leading to a greater need for sleep.
Typically women will need an average of about 20 additional minutes of sleep a night. It’s not just multitasking where men’s and women’s brains differ in their needs for sleep—women suffer harsher effects from sleep deprivation. Women are tagged with mood swings, labeled drama queens, and so on. I’m sure you’ve all heard it. According to science, these mood swings are related to the higher amount of brain energy females use.
Does that mean we women should sleep in 20 minutes later than men? Hell yeah! Okay wait, I guess I should mention that we’re all different, and it could be the guy needs that extra 20 just as much as the woman. Yet in general, it does signify women should sleep a bit more.
Before we go over sleep deprivation solutions, we’ll cover more information so that I can scare or inspire you into prioritizing even one area of your life—trying something, anything to “up” your game, and get back into the deep beautiful sleep that you deserve.
SUGGESTED SLEEP RECOMMENDATIONS FOR WAKING UP LIKE NEW
- Children (6 to 13 years): 9 to 11 hours.
- Teenagers (14 to 17 years): 8 to 10 hours.
- Adults (18 to 64 years): 7 to 9 hours.
- Older adults (over 65 years): 7 to 8 hours.
One in three Americans has at least mild insomnia. That’s huge, and it’s a sticky business —but there’s hope. Regardless of why you don’t sleep, water, movement, and nutrition have tangible benefits for the overall quality of your life. And many will experience an increase in sleep quality and duration when taking them seriously.
I’m sure you’ve read or heard a dozen views on these three topics: water – movement – snacks. Dieters cringe at the thought of any foods at night. “I’ll gain weight!” Movement scares everyone, “Not another push to exerrrrrrcise!” And water makes everyone want to run to the bathroom. “I don’t want to get up at night.”
EACH OF US ARE UNIQUE
It’s not commonly used as a solution, but your body and mind are unique to you. Meaning, there’s no “one-size fits all” sleep solution. In fact, we all need our own recipe for success. And as odd as this may sound: when you learn how to prioritize you, it starts with understanding yourself better — revealing your unique recipe. Personally, I’ve learned to drink water and get my movement in. And by the end of the day, if need be, I’ll eat a snack an hour before bedtime or right when I fall asleep, drink water at any time in the night, and movement is again non-restricted prior to bedtime.
But I’ve spoken to many who swear by a totally different regiment. They might find drinking and eating two hours before bedtime works for them, or that movement can’t be done late as it stirs the adrenaline and slows falling asleep.
Movement, by the way, isn’t called exercise because it’s not wrapped up in a full workout category. Instead, it can be as simple as just stretching for 30 seconds every so often in the day. Again, remember, each of us is different.
We all know that sleep deprivation has many causes and solutions – the more you learn, the better, but for those who are overwhelmed with too much information or lack of clarity, don’t sweat it. In the case of health and well- being, it’s a great idea to start with the basics and learn as you go.
Relaxing is the prerequisite for wisdom.
Okay, that wraps up Part 1. In Part 2, we’ll go over the three groups with some fun stuff thrown in.
If Coronavirus has increased your anxiety these last months, here an article you might enjoy. It’s uplifting as it shows the millions who are coming together to help get the world through this pandemic. Why Does It Take A Disaster To Bring Us Together
Notes on the 3 secrets to waking up like new:
- SleepFoundation, Medically Reviewed by Dr. Abhinav Singh, Written by Eric Suni, How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?