It’s that time of year again…
That day or two where we see increases in traffic accidents and heart attacks.
Why now? Because of daylight savings time.
Losing just one hour of sleep has incredibly far reaching consequences.
The great news is that the complete opposite is true for getting an extra hour of sleep!
Or rather, the appropriate amount of sleep.
And we even get to see that because there are fewer traffic accidents and heart attacks when we gain that extra hour in the fall!
One could argue that we lose an hour just once per year…
… but really, how many people skimp on sleep on a regular basis? A lot!
Even though we are meant to sleep for about 1/3 of our lives, people are still very quick to underestimate the importance of sleep.
Sleep loss affects every single facet of your health, without exceptions.
Now, I find a lot of ways to help my patients incorporate healthy habits…
… to compensate for some health deterrents…
… to utilize what they’ve got on hand.
But sleep, there is no way around it.
There is no replacement for sleep.
If a lack of sleep is happening, it does make all the other healthy habits even more vital.
But nothing can make up for that lack of sleep.
So the first step to take is to actually allow yourself the proper amount of time needed for sleep.
Adults need to sleep 8 hours per night.
Since most people don’t instantaneously fall asleep when they hit the pillow, allow yourself more than 8 hours, to make sure you have time to fall asleep.
Also, keep electronics out of your bedroom, don’t take naps after 3pm, and avoid alcohol too close to bed.
Further steps to support your sleep:
- make sure you exercise, but not too late in the day
- avoid large meals late at night
- create a sleep schedule for yourself and stick to it
- get gentle sunlight exposure
- relax before bed (avoid the news and suspense/scary/horror movies before bed)
Understand that we are basically the only weirdo species that wrecks their sleep by choice.
It is only fairly recently in history that we have started doing so (electric lights…)
So we don’t have sleep storage the way we have energy storage (fat cells).
Please make your sleep a priority. You and your health depend on it.