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Ready, Set, SLEEP!

So Many Things To Do ListMost of us start our days like a sprinter in the race of our lives. Our schedules are stretched to the max with school schedules, work schedules, after school activities, family commitments, social commitments, homework, work from the office that is brought home…whew! Just listing it all will make you feel overwhelmed.

In an effort to get everything on our plate accomplished and try to spend some time with the ones we love, something’s got to give. Unfortunately what gives is often sleep. If I stay up just a bit later and get up just a bit earlier I’ll get so much more done! This way of thinking may work for a while – a short while – but in the end you (and your to dos) will suffer.

Adequate sleep is necessary to good health! Denying your body the rest it so desperately needs will make you more susceptible to illness, depression, and weight gain. Too little sleep increases your risk of heart attack and stroke, causes headaches and moodiness, and affects your metabolism and blood sugar levels.

too little sleep

Lack of sleep can be so cruel! Courtesy Yahoo!Health

“I get it,” you say. “But what can I do about it?”

Do your best to not add too many extra activities to your schedule. Some things have to be done. Sure. But don’t overextend yourself. Try to arrange carpooling for all of those extra-curricular activities for your kids. Make every effort to not bring work home with you. Stick to an evening routine and schedule. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers these suggestions for getting the best and most rest:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. For children, have a set bedtime and a bedtime routine. Don’t use the child’s bedroom for timeouts or punishment.
  • Try to keep the same sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends. Limit the difference to no more than about an hour. Staying up late and sleeping in late on weekends can disrupt your body clock’s sleep–wake rhythm.
  • Use the hour before bed for quiet time. Avoid strenuous exercise and bright artificial light, such as from a TV or computer screen. The light may signal the brain that it’s time to be awake.
  • Avoid heavy and/or large meals within a couple hours of bedtime. (Having a light snack is okay.) Also, avoid alcoholic drinks before bed.
  • Avoid nicotine (for example, cigarettes) and caffeine (including caffeinated soda, coffee, tea, and chocolate). Nicotine and caffeine are stimulants, and both substances can interfere with sleep. The effects of caffeine can last as long as 8 hours. So, a cup of coffee in the late afternoon can make it hard for you to fall asleep at night.
  • Spend time outside every day (when possible) and be physically active.
  • Keep your bedroom quiet, cool, and dark (a dim night light is fine, if needed).
  • Take a hot bath or use relaxation techniques before bed.

Without adequate, quality sleep you will not be at your best. Make it a priority to get TOO BUSY SLEEPING and sit the race to do it all out!!!

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