Are These Sleep Habits Ruining Your Health?

Conceptual portrait of a business lady with clock being short of time

Conceptual portrait of a business lady with clock being short of time

Ever wake up tired, even after you got eight hours of sleep? Ever toss and turn or have difficulty falling asleep when you go to bed?  Or felt tired all. Day. Long. Despite a full night in bed?

I’ve noticed missing out on some zzz’s is a fast track to fatigue that lasts all day, major grumpiness and a serious drop in productivity, myself.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time this week reading up on how sleep affects our health for my next book and it’s made me more determined than ever to hit the hay early!  Of course, you and I both know how important sleep is for good health, but seeing the actual facts of just HOW sleep affects our health has been a real eye-opener for me.

For instance, did you know that there are certain physiological functions your body performs only when you are sleeping? The brain, for one, goes through a major detoxification process while you are catching some zzz’s.   The cells of the brain (called neruons) actually shrink by about 60% while the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain increases. Specialized brain cells then go through and “sweep out” the toxins that have accumulated during the day so that your brain is refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

It’s kind of like hiring a housekeeper to come in and sweep out the dirt and grime of the day while you’re sleeping. When you wake, everything’s all sparkling clean and fresh, ready for a new day! (Where do I sign up for that service?!?)

The same thing happens in your brain when you’re asleep. You accumulate a lot of metabolic wastes and toxins throughout the day. When you miss out on sleep, it’s sort of like what happens to my house throughout the day as my kids, pets and husband go through their usual routine of leaving dirty laundry, toys and who-know-what all over the bedroom and living room floors.  I try to keep on top of it, but soon chaos reigns! (See! I need an overnight cleaning service!) Not hard to see why a lack of sleep leads to difficulty concentrating, poor memory and a drop in critical thinking, is it?

Actually, your brain is just one area that benefits from a good night’s sleep. The liver, gall bladder, and intestines all have specialized processes that occur only during sleep. Sleep is absolutely essential to your body’s ability to heal, detoxify and regenerate.

This is all good to know, but how do you go about getting a good night’s sleep?? Let’s look at 3 sleep habits most Americans need to ditch in favor of better ways.

Are These Bad Sleep Habits Ruining Your Health?

Sleeping with Electronics In the Bedroom

Ditch the electronics in the bedroom. Sleeping with your phone, ipad or other electronics in the bedroom is a bad idea, friend.  The electromagnetic radiation emitted by these devices actually interferes with our circadian rhythm, interrupting the normal sleep/wake cycle.   In one our health coaching classes, the instructor shared the story of a client who had trouble staying awake through the night. While the instructor gave her several suggestions to help her stay asleep, the only thing the client changed was to remove the electronic devices from her room. Guess what? Her troublesome spell with insomnia abated as soon as she gave the electronics the boot from the bedroom!

Sleeping with the Light- Any Light- On

Turn out the lights! Yes, I’m aware that you turn off the lights when you go to bed. But I’m talking about ALL the lights- the light from electronics (ahem), from you alarm clock, the nightlight, and even the light filtering in from the street light outside your bedroom window. Your body is super sensitive to light and even a small amount can signal your body to stay awake.  Try to make your room as dark as possible when you hit the hay and you’ll be amazed at how much improved your sleep quality becomes!

Sleeping In a Room That’s Too Warm

Lower the temperature of your bedroom. A dip in body temperature signals the brain that it’s time for bed.  By keeping the temperature cool, you’ll help your body relax into restful sleep by sending the right signals to the brain that it’s time for dreamland. Try a fan to keep it cool and you’ll benefit from the white noise it generates as well!
Try these sleeping tips tonight to you’ll be sleeping like a baby! You’re welcome 😉

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