Are you enjoying the longer daylight we’ve had these last few evenings? I’m loving it! I can now walk in the woods after work, without being concerned that I might run into a pack of hungry coyotes in the dark. As my youngest child has frequently pointed out to me, if survival-of-the-fittest were still a thing, I would be dead. (I’m both weak and slow.) Ha-ha. My kids definitely help me “keep it real.”
Speaking of survival of the fittest, guess what one of THE most important things you can do to be your most healthy, vibrant self? Answer: cultivate consistent, high-quality SLEEP. There are seriously few habits that are more important than this one. Like maybe even none habits that are more important than this one, because I dare say it may even surpass food lifestyle for importance! (Yet, food affects our sleep, so they end up being one interrelated, health-promoting package.
Last spring, I wrote a blog post all about sleep and it’s still relevant, so I won’t repeat myself here. What I will say is that if I could suggest only THREE habits to adopt, to drastically improve your sleep, it would be these:
Top 3 Habits for Better Sleep (And Therefore Better Health)
- If you’re going to ingest CAFFEINE, do it before 10am.
Caffeine has a long life in our body. If you ingest 200 mg of caffeine, 100 mg still remains in your system 5 hours later. It can take up to 12 hours for your body to rid itself of caffeine. In addition to being a stimulant (read: anti-sleep), it significantly affects our deep sleep via interference with brain waves, among other affects.
- If you’re going to drink ALCOHOL, finish it at least 4 hours before bedtime.
Although alcohol relaxes us and helps us feel sleepy, as it wears off it actually disturbs sleep in many ways, including messing with our REM sleep.
- Avoid SUGAR and empty carbs, especially in the second half of your day, and increase veggies and healthy fats.
Sugar is a notorious sleep disruptor, affecting our neurotransmitters, metabolism and hormones.
Remember, it’s not just about sleeping for enough time each night (minimum of 7.5 hours), it’s about the quality of that sleep. Some (most!) folks I work with are protective of their coffee, wine and sweets, arguing points like, “I fall asleep fine, I just always wake up exhausted. So don’t tell me that coffee isn’t good for me…it’s what makes me function!”
What’s interesting is that caffeine is a top sleep disruptor, if not THE top sleep disruptor. So then we wake up tired. And then we turn to…you guessed it: caffeine…to wake us up. We use caffeine to make up for the sleep deficit that is caused by caffeine. In other words, we use caffeine itself to hide the very problems that it causes. Well that’s a handy little self-promoting mechanism for caffeine, ain’t it?
Caffeine is a very strong and addictive drug. Most folks don’t like what I have to say about caffeine because…well…because they’re addicted to caffeine (both chemically and mentally) and would really rather I didn’t point out it’s negative affects in the body. However. That’s the real deal.
What’s interesting (to me) is that when folks do my Body Sass? Cleanse?which includes no caffeine, alcohol, or sugar; and contains plenty of veggies and healthy fats?one of the most common benefits cited is, “the most amazing sleep I remember having in years….night after night!”
Restful, restorative sleep is much more important during situations like the coronavirus than hand sanitizer or a face mask. It requires more effort and commitment, but immunity and good sleep are constant bedfellows (lame pun loosely intended). Take care of you!
Create Vibrant Health: BodyMindSpirit?
With love and Body Sass?,