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Are you getting enough sleep?

Sleep is a very interesting time of day.  Personally, I have always been a morning person, early to bed, early to rise.  I believe in my younger years I might

Sleep is the best meditation

have skimped a bit on my sleep at night, but I would eventually have to make up for it… I am a 9 – 10 hour sleeper.   I KNOW… that’s a lot.  Last night I was up late (for me) and didn’t get to bed until after 10:00 pm.. I woke up at my normal time, 4:30am but I was sluggish and had what I will describe as a “hang-over” feeling.  I didn’t like it.  I stayed in bed and fell back asleep until 6:00 (much better)

Besides that sluggish, don’t-want-to-get-out-of-bed feeling, it’s widely acknowledged that sleep has many other benefits such as:

– Strengthens your memory – while you sleep you mind “practices” what you learned or did during the day.

– Enough sleep keeps inflammatory proteins lower, less then 6 hours of sleep is linked to higher levels of inflammatory proteins, which is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging. (when compared to people who get more sleep)

– Sleep helps people learn, studies show that sleep deprivation impairs learning.

– Researchers found that dieters that were well rested lost more fat.

– A good night sleep is great for overall wellness and will help someone inclined to be moody or depressed  get more emotional stability.

So… let’s talk a minute about how to tell if you are getting enough sleep.   Most studies seem to draw the line at 5 hours or less in adults.

According to the blog www.sleepacademy.org, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine if you are getting enough sleep.  (they also remind us that the time that you go to bed and wake up the next day are not always great indications of your sleep in hours, you have to consider how many times you woke up… or how long it took to fall asleep)  As yourself these questions to determine if you are getting enough sleep.

1. Do I need an alarm clock to wake up at the right time?

2. Do I have trouble getting out of bed every morning?

3. Do I get tired quickly when driving?

4. Do I have trouble remembering things or concentrating?

5. Do I fall asleep as soon as I lay down to go to bed?

What do you think?  Do you need an alarm clock to get up in the morning on time to get ready for the day alert with that drowsy feeling?

According to Harvard Medical website: http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/need-sleep/what-can-you-do/assess-needs  

  • Although there is some genetic variation, most adults need between 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep per 24-hour period to function optimally.
  • You can find your optimal sleep time if you set aside several days (perhaps during a vacation) to allow yourself to sleep as long as possible.
  • Once you know how much sleep you need, it’s important to allot that amount of time in your daily schedule for sleep.

Every site I visited to research facts for this post talked about finding your optimal sleep requirements by taking a Sleep Vacation.  (It wasn’t always called a sleep vacation, but I liked that one so I took it)

Take a Sleep Vacation

Another method for determining your sleep need is to take a “sleep vacation.” During a two-week period, when you have a flexible schedule or perhaps are on vacation, pick a consistent bedtime and do not use an alarm clock to wake up. Chances are that for the first few days or week you will sleep longer because you’ll be paying off your “sleep debt”—the amount of sleep deprivation that you’ve accumulated over a period of time. If you continue going to bed at the same time and allowing your body to wake up naturally, you will eventually establish a pattern of sleeping essentially the same amount of time each night, probably in the range of 7 to 9 hours. Congratulations! You’ve identified the amount of sleep that you need.  http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/need-sleep/what-can-you-do/assess-needs

One last thought about sleep… You body requires sleep to perform its basic maintenance.  While you are awake it is concentrating on the stress of every moment and environmental and nutritional toxins we throw at it and into it.  During sleep… your body renews.  Your mind refreshes and continues the learning processes it started during the day at its leisure.

Consider sleep …  a requirement… a part of your well-being regimen and not something that your body is forcing upon you…

Then… when you wake up… You can make today absolutely AMAZING!

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