Are You Getting Enough Zzz's?

Lately, I've been groggy, enervated, and just plain tired-- and it's not for lack of nutrients, exercise, or happiness in my life. I've never dealt with this problem before, but alas--- I'm not sleeping well- nor enough! Apparently, sleep deprivation is such a chronic condition these days and most people don't know they're suffering from it. Science can back it up: a deficit of sleep has far reaching and serious effects on our health that can't be remedied no matter how much we pay the coffee industry.

Constant interrupted or impaired sleep can: *Dramatically weaken your immune system and make you feel run-down and sick more often than usual. *Seriously impair your memory and impact your ability to think clearly the next day (not good for my line of work!). *Cause a pre-diabetic state- leaving you feeling hungry after you've eaten which leads to stomach problems and weight gain. *Bring on mood disorders like anxiety, listlessness, and depression. *Interrupt glucose metabolism- leaving you feeling a lack of energy, as we derive energy from stored glucose. *Make you look older. Sleep deprivation interrupts growth hormone production- which is normally released by your pituitary gland while you sleep and consequently makes you look refreshed and younger.

My sweet/concerned bf sent me this article which includes some fun factoids about the topic, like: "A single night of sleep can more than double our ability to come up with novel solutions to difficult problems"; "One night without sleep leaves you performing like you were legally drunk at a blood alcohol content of 0.08"; and this: "If you are sleep deprived you are more likely to be dead in 20 years" (Yikes).

There are numerous before-bedtime rules that we've all heard of before, and the following are ones I try to abide by most: *Take a hot bath or shower (the rise and fall of body temp facilitates sleep). *Don't drink fluids 2 hours before bed. *Wear an eye mask to block out light (to sleep in utter darkness; even the tiniest glow from your alarm clock can disrupt your sleep). *Listen to relaxation CD's (consider a sound machine or a CD of ocean waves)- and with that- don't watch TV right before bed (brain stimuli will keep you up). *Write in a journal and/or read something uplifting (no Stieg Larsson). *Don't sleep with pets or teeth grinding boyfriends, no matter how cute (unfortunately, this will never happen).

Take care when waking as well; getting up to a loud alarm is stressful on the body. Consider a Zen alarm clock or a Sun alarm clock. I have a great one on my phone which sounds the loveliest gongs.

It's ironic that I'm sacrificing sleep as I write this post about the detriments of sleep debt. And with that, I'm off to bed. xoS