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Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Sleeping

As I mentioned, once I decided to make some changes, they were pretty easy to stick to. Of course I had had a number of years to get to the place where I was ready, but the fact that I made rather small changes and didn’t put any specific weight or time demands on myself I think helped me to stick with it. I wasn’t trying to lose weight; I was trying to get healthy. I wanted to go up those stairs and so much more, effortlessly.
It wasn’t long before getting up in the morning was getting easier. Forcing myself to get to bed on time was of course a huge help. I found before too long that I was no longer experiencing those major drag times throughout the day. For me it was about 2:30 p.m. and around 7:00 p.m. If you have, or have ever had small kids you may know it as ‘hell hour.’  Getting up and getting that 20 min of exercise was giving me more energy!
If I am to be completely honest here, and that is certainly my goal, I would have to admit that getting into bed at that time had another purpose as well. Things were not getting any better in my relationship with my husband, actually they were getting worse. He would usually arrive home around 11:15 p.m. If I was in bed with lights out by 11:00 I would likely be sleeping when he got home and I could avoid him. Makes me sad to type it now, but it is the truth.
Recently while looking back and trying to evaluate what I did that made my weight loss go so well I found a number of articles talking about the effects that lack of sleep has on healthy weight. Here is one of them:
Want to look at a few more?  I just googled “SLEEP AND WEIGHT LOSS” and there were 31 million results.
Another huge benefit of going to bed earlier was that I was avoiding some of the most dangerous snack time for me. In the evening I was eating because I was bored and lonely, sleeping fixed that because luckily I am not a sleep eater!
Getting enough sleep is also important for our skin to look good, and really, I don’t care how old you are, you  want your skin to look good! There is also evidence that the proper amount of sleep helps our hair to be strong, shiny, and stay in our heads. Nail strength is improved. They don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing...
But there is more, so much more. Our ability to regulate our moods increases. Our immune system is strengthened, not only for little stuff like the common cold, but for the big stuff too. Aside from what is going on inside our bodies there is lots of evidence that safety is a factor wherever loss of sleep exists. Sleep deprivation has been related to an increase in industrial accidents, poor academic performance, delays in recovery from hospitalization, and misdiagnoses errors in health care settings. For example, one study found that attending physicians were slower in performing intubations and had slower general reaction times when they were sleep deprived. (Don’t get me started on what I think about the current system of having interns’ working days without sleep...)
I know, as you do, that sleeping more alone isn’t going to get the weight off us, but for me, I really believe that it was a very important part of the big picture. I thought the only benefit of getting to bed earlier was being able to get up to get that work out done, but I now know that bit of extra sleep, on a regular basis did so much more than that for me.
I know there are sleeping apparatus issues, among other things, for some of you, but I wonder, how much do you sleep? Would you like to get more?  Why don’t you?