Are you Sleeping or Counting Sheep?

How well do you sleep?  Did you ever have a night when you just couldn’t sleep or you fell asleep and woke up hours before your alarm clock was set to go off?  I know I’ve had many nights like that and they aren’t fun, that’s for sure.

Sleep is very important; more important than most people realize.  Good sleeping patterns are essential to living a life of good general health and well-being.

So why do we need a good nights sleep?  Here are just a few reasons why we need to take care of ourselves and get enough sleep.  I am certain that you will be surprised at some of the reasons why we should take sleep very seriously.

Lack of sleep is one of the reasons for increased obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Although some of these diseases are inherited and cannot be avoided, there are patterns that we create ourselves; an extra cup of coffee, a piece of candy or a mid afternoon muffin are some of the things we do that can interrupt our sleeping patterns. And this could be the one thing stopping us from losing weight and improving our health.

When we don’t have enough sleep, our brain sends out urgent messages asking for quick energy.  Daily indulgences can mean insulin is elevated and we’re setting ourselves up for possible diabetes and weight gain.

Studies have shown that staying up for 17 or more hours, can leave us with a response comparable to a blood alcohol reading of greater then 0.5.  And for every hour we stay awake we decrease our ability to focus and perform throughout the day.

Insufficient sleep results in an incomplete hormonal cycle; meaning our bodies cannot produce daytime hormone adrenaline, when it needs it first thing in the morning. This pattern causes an excessive release of stress hormones particularly in the evening hours. These hormones will keep us going and they will also signal our body to store fat. As Danny O’Neill, CEO of Danny O’Neill Executive Wellness states in one of his blogs, “Sleep is the time when the body repairs itself and most effectively metabolizes nutrients”.

Ok, so you now know that sleep is good for all of us…and you are probably asking, “that’s all good, JoAnn, but how the heck do I get to sleep and stay asleep?”

Well, come back next week and read my blog.  I’ll share some things that can help you gain control of your sleeping habits.