We get up, go to work, attend meetings, dinners, events, go to the gym, take care of kids and family, and then at the very end of the day, squeeze in a few hours of sleep. But then we get sick, have a lack of focus and energy during the day, and don’t feel productive or motivated at work. We don’t prioritize sleep as important, and push it to the very end of the to-do list for the day.
Well folks, if this sounds like you, it’s time to rethink your relationship to sleep. And to make it a priority right now. According to Matthew Walker, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Founder and Director of the Center for Human Sleep Science, the “sleep-loss epidemic” that we are experiencing is killing us. And getting adequate sleep (7-9 hours per night) is the best way to stay healthy & lower your risk for disease.
Walker says that a lack of sleep (anything less than 7 hours) increases your risk for heart attack, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and obesity. It also compromises your immune system and makes you much less functional, efficient and effective at work.
You don’t need an alarm to wake up, you don’t need that morning cup of joe to get you going each day, and you don’t sleep in on weekends.
And if you’re finding it hard to fall asleep, or you experience fragmented sleep (where you get up several times during the night) there are several things you can do:
- Avoid caffeine late in the day (and certainly not at night!).
- Avoid drinking alcohol 6-8 hours before bed (contrary to popular belief, alcohol doesn’t help you fall asleep - it is a sedative that blocks deep, dream sleep).
- One hour before bed, shut down your phones, electronics, and LED screens (the bright devices can block your melatonin levels pushing the onset of sleep.)
- You should also make sure your bedroom is dark and cool, to limit light exposure and bring your body temperature down.
Carve out time in your schedule to get those 7-9 hours a night - you’ll wake refreshed, energized, in a better mood, and ready to tackle anything!
To learn more about the power of sleep, and to read an in-depth analysis of Walker’s new book “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams,” click HERE.
Want to learn more about bedding and how it affects your sleep? Read the 7 myths of bedding to get the truth!