I’m musing about “Sleep” today, as it has been a hot topic in medical news this week. Just a few days ago the CDC released results of its most recent sleep study which found that 25% of adults are not getting the minimum 7 hours of sleep per day. Fifteen percent of us have trouble falling asleep, while 18% of us have trouble staying asleep. It found that it’s mostly women, adults ages 18-44, lower income earners, and those living rurally who have trouble falling asleep, while adults 44 and older have trouble staying asleep.
Then overnight last night the American Heart Association announced that it has found that “sleep” is one of the “Essential 8” for heart health:
- Cholesterol Levels
- Blood Pressure
- Blood Sugar
- Nicotine Exposure
- And now, Sleep
Minding the “Essential 8” will decrease our chances of heart attack, stroke, coronary artery disease, and will improve our psychological well-being. That last one makes perfect sense; “sleep deprivation” is a form of torture, after all. I, personally, feel like my heart is beating harder and faster when I’m dragging from lack of sleep.
So What Can You Do About It?
Suggestions from the CDC and AHA to aid in sleep quality:
Keep a consistent sleep schedule, including weekends
Keep a quiet, dark, cool and relaxing bedroom
Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol right before bedtime
Regularly exercise 30 minutes per day
Avoid screentime 30 minutes before bedtime
Hey! I’m Doing Something Right!
Luckily, “sleep” is one thing in my life that I’m doing correctly! I’m a very good sleeper…as soon as my head hits the pillow, as they say! I’m hydrated, so after Mother Nature calls a couple times a night, I usually drop right back to sleep.
And I dream! I learned, years ago, that dreaming indicates good, sound, restorative sleep! And sometimes I even remember my dreams! I told a friend way back in my college days that I love sleeping; it’s like going to the movies every night!
I don’t awaken by alarm and I’m usually able to bound out of bed in the morning and hit the ground running! I’m fortunate in this regard; I know, and I don’t take it for granted.
Non-medicinal Sleep Aids
Years ago my naturopath recommended that I start taking “Calm” magnesium supplement because I was hiking so much. It’s a good post-workout recovery practice; but as its name, “Calm”, implies, it also aids in sleep. Right before bedtime I have a cup of warm chamomile tea with a scoop of “Calm”. Maybe this is why I sleep so well, or maybe it’s just placebo; but I like the flavor combination and it’s a good mental ritual…as if to declare, “This day is over. It’s time for bed.” If you are a problem sleeper, maybe you’d have some luck with my nighttime ritual.
Three separate times I’ve gifted weighted blankets to friends and loved ones who are problem sleepers, each time met with rave reviews. I’ve never had the need to try one, but I’ve heard nothing but good things; hence, the reason I’ve gifted these sleep aids. They say to get a blanket that’s 10% of the user’s body weight. And, though they’re heavy, they’re not hot; so you can use it during the summer. You might have some luck with this, too, if you have trouble sleeping.
It’s Not All “Rosy Glory” for Me, Though!
Once-in-awhile I’m hit with insomnia, and it’s just awful! My main triggers are:
- Hunger – I need to plan my meals a little better, so dinner won’t “wear off” right at bedtime. I won’t want to consume more calories at bedtime, yet not doing so prevents the “sleepies” from overtaking me.
- My own thoughts – I don’t have a good solution to stop ruminating. I might try meditation, but sometimes my stress is too powerful for me to focus on meditating.
- Caffeine in the afternoon – so it’s strictly a morning indulgence.
- Alcohol in the evening – I rarely imbibe. If I do, I make sure I don’t have to be up early the next day.
- Working out too closely to bedtime – so I’m a “knock it out before work” kind-of girl!
School of Hard Knocks
I once learned, the hard way, how huge sleep is in immunity. It was the summer of 2013. My hiking friends and I started a 6-week series of night hikes on Saturday nights. Week one, we started at 9 pm; week two, we started at 10 pm; and so forth until the very last night when we didn’t start until two o’clock Sunday morning. Though I tried to sleep Saturday night before the 2 am start, all I managed to do was lie on the sofa with my eyes closed for hours.
But I held up just fine during the hike…friends, fun, silliness, cool things to see, hear, and smell…I was so amped-up that I didn’t feel sleepy. I still didn’t feel sleepy by the time I got home just after sunrise. It was then-and-there that I decided to stay up all day until early evening, lest I invite a night of insomnia.
So that’s what I did, and it later bit me in the derriere!
Lying in Wait
Two days before that hike, I treated a client who had a mild cold. I thought nothing of it at the time. And had I gotten enough sleep while her cold bug was hanging out in my lymph, my immune system probably would have annihilated it within another day or two before it ever had a chance to make itself known. But by the time I got some sleep on Sunday night, I hadn’t slept in over 36 hours, weakening my immune system and allowing her cold bug to take the reins and have a heyday.
This cold bug eventually led to fluid in my ears, at which point I couldn’t stand to ride it out any longer; I had to go to urgent care (“Ka-ching”!) and get a prescription for an upper respiratory infection. It was one of the worst colds I’ve ever had, and all because my body was sleep-deprived and too weak to fight its invader.
The power of sleep! Lesson learned!
Endermologie Can Help
Many clients find that their sleep quality has improved after starting Endermologie. Many do drift off into little catnaps during treatment; others find that sense of calm following them throughout the day right up through bedtime. Endermologie is SO much more than just a cellulite treatment or wrinkle treatment; there’s definitely a “wellness” component, too.
Perhaps that’s another reason why my clients look younger! Endermologie smoothed away the cellulite and wrinkles, while the improved sleep quality brightened skin color, and cleared up bloodshot eyes and dark eye circles and bags!
We all need to prioritize sleep for a plethora of reasons. Now, go get some shut eye! Zzzzzzz…….
Expert Certified Endermologie Practitioner
In continuous specialized practice since 2005