Last week I stepped off the curb and into the path of oncoming traffic.
Fortunately, I made it across the street okay, but it was definitely a wake up call. I was essentially sleepwalking through my day on about 4-5 hours of sleep.
Unfortunately, this is a regular occurrence for me. I get in bed somewhere between 2-3:30am and am up at around 7:30am. Most days I think I "manage" it well but others, like that day, I know it's a problem.
I've always known about the link between lack of sleep and weight gain. I have a friend who recently lost a good amount of weight and credits his success in part to always getting a good night's sleep - at least 7 hours. With my average of 4 hours of sleep, I am missing out on one of the most crucial phases of the sleep process.
Phase 1: During this phase, a person is in between wake and sleep. The person can be awakened easily.
Phase 2: This is a period of light sleep during which body temperature drops.
Phase 3 and Phase 4: These are the phases during which a person experiences an increasingly deeper stage of sleep called delta sleep. During this restorative stage, the body is repairing itself, building bone and muscle and releasing certain hormones.
I know better than to think that I can just go home tonight, firmly pledging to sleep a minimum of 7 hours a night. I need to take small steps to change my habits.
Here a few tips from the article, "Sleep Your Way To Slim:"
- Instead of trying to adhere to a strict lights-out policy every night, aim to get in bed early at least one night per week.
- Ease yourself into your slumber session with a bath.
- Eating a carb-based mini-meal of no more than 200 calories 45 minutes before drifting off can raise serotonin levels, helping you relax and sleep well. Try a whole-wheat English muffin with a tablespoon of honey or a cup of instant oatmeal with 1/4 cup of chopped apple.
How many hours of sleep are you getting on average each night?