Sleep! We all do it. We all need it. But what is so important about sleep? We need just a few hours to revive ourselves right? WRONG!
I’ll go back to three years ago when my youngest daughter, Aline, was born. Sleep deprived was a way of life. I literally could not nap at all when she napped as a newborn, because that was when I had to put some focus on my other two girls and give them some time alone with mommy.
At night she would nurse every two hours round the clock until she was four months old. Then I got longer stretches like 4-5 hours. On top of this, some nights the other girls would wake from a bad dream or need a drink of water. So the two hours I was supposed to fall asleep I often got woken up. Needless to say I was a walking zombie. I got used to this way of life, but boy do I remember the cost. I was forever dragging with a big fog in my head. I was moody and cranky. My back, neck and head would often ache for no reason. I was off in my eating patterns. Every time I got a chance to sit down I felt like I could pass out.
Some days it felt like I was drunk though I hadn’t had a bit of alcohol (actually, a drink never sounded appealing during this time because I was so tired). Basically I was sleep deprived for months and felt like total garbage. Of course I was a joyous new mom and feeling the love of my expanding family, but deep down I was dreaming of the day I could just sleep—that’s all I wished for.
I can report now that things are much different in the Rahaim household. We all LOVE our sleep. We love to go to sleep, stay asleep and wake at a good hour feeling refreshed. Sure I have the nights here or there when one of the girls wakes in the night but not that often.
I sleep now from 10pm-6am every night like clockwork. It is my sleep pattern no doubt.
Sleep is crucial in order for me to be the best person I can be each day and that is why I put it on such a high pedestal along with clean eating. Nothing feels better than when you wake from a good night’s sleep happy and ready for your day. I respond to my children much better and have much more patience for the world and all I come in contact with. I am highly motivated and ready for whatever comes my way that day. I have a sense of enjoyment for daily life vs. getting through the day or getting the day over with. I am a positive person and able to see extraordinary in an ordinary day. Yes, it may sound like a lot, but sleep REALLY is important to who you are and who you want to be each day.
I see now why I felt like such garbage being so sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation can cause decreased alertness and ability to maintain focus. It affects your mood, energy and motivation. It causes problems in your coordination and impulsiveness and also can contribute to pains (such a headaches).
Here are some other interesting facts about sleep………
Teenagers need as much sleep as small children (about 10 hours). YES! 10 hours that means something like 9pm-7am. While those over 65 need the least of all (about 6 hours). For the average adults aged 25-55, 8 hours is considered optimal. 8 HOURS!!!!
Sleep can balance appetites by helping regulate levels of the hormones gherlin and leptin, which play a role in our feelings of hunger and fullness. When we are sleep deprived we may feel or think we need to eat more, which leads to weight gain…. YIKES!
During sleep our brain is in fact extraordinarily active. Sleep helps in learning and memory processing. New studies show that memories are formed when we sleep. Sleep strengthens the content of a memory.
The horizontal position we sleep in facilitates the joints to bare less weight than during the day and your muscles to release tension, start to relax, and regenerate. During sleep the body secretes growth hormone, which is very important for muscle regeneration, say experts on the subject.
Sleep benefits our immune and circulatory systems. So when sick or coming down with something, do not try to fight it by braving it out all day with a few cold tablets. Instead SLEEP. Go to bed early and sleep in if possible. Even a restorative nap will do your body good.
We all know the effects of a late night out and the price our skin pays in the morning (droopy eyelids, less plump, dry, more defined wrinkles, etc). Cosmetics for use at night are based on the fact that during sleep the cells regenerate skin faster and actively use the nutrients. Therefore, we need many good nights sleep in a row to look our best and those eye creams we diligently put on every night may help too (but alone don’t do the trick)!
Overall a good night’s sleep is ESSENTIAL. Aim for 7-8 hours a night. If it’s hard for you to fall asleep at night then turn off all electronics a ½ hr before your designated bedtime and read a book or article you enjoy. Make your sleep area cozy, neat, and a place your can’t wait to retreat to at night.
Put it on your “to do” list each day as “get to bed tonight by 10pm” reading this all day will make it more likely to happen. And finally, be CONSISTANT (going to bed each night at the same hour and waking at the same hour) is when you will start to see and feel the most benefits of sleep. Your body and mind will reward you for your efforts!