“Regular Sleep, Healthy Future”

-The international slogan for the 2021 World Sleep Day on March 19, 2021

With World Sleep Day passing last week, it got me thinking about that slogan “I’ll sleep when I die”? It’s honestly one of the worst catchphrases out there. We live in a society that is so go-go-go, and rest is often seen as unproductive. A 2017 report from the CDC estimates that over one-third of the adult population in the U.S. sleeps less than 7 hours a day.

During college, I definitely lived that mindset. I would stay up late or pull all-nighters just to get all my work done and pass my exams. Staying up-all-night was never what I wanted, but I did not have the luxury to just go to school and stay focused on my studies. Tacking on the fact that I was uneducated about sleep hygiene and the importance of managing chronic stress, I had a recipe for disaster. Being a busy bee was my way of life, until one day the lack of sleep and dealing with chronic stress drove me to the hospital and the biggest scare of my life. Sleep and Stress are truly detrimental to your health, and both are silent killers.

world sleep day
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Here are 10 things you might not have known can happen because of sleep loss:

    1. High risk for a Heart Attack/Stroke
    2. Just one night of sleep deprivation can lead to the accumulation of the beta-amyloid protein in your brain, which is a risk for Alzheimer’s Disease.
    3. Lack of sleep can affect your Sex Life by decreasing your Libido, which refers to your sex drive.
    4. Weakened Immune System
    5. High Risk for Diabetes
    6. Impairs your cognitive thinking. You forget things ALL.THE.TIME.
    7. Can contribute to weight gain.
    8. Affects your mental health, by contributing to signs of depression.
    9. Put you at risk for Accidents.
    10. Loss of Balance and Coordination

I must admit, sleeping early is still a work in progress for me. The main thing that’s worked up to now is focusing on my sleep hygiene and redefining what productivity means to me. I now define productivity by getting things done at a pace that is comfortable for me, where boundaries are placed for my mental and physical health, and self-care is an essential check box on my to-do list for the week. Working on my Sleep Hygiene has been a game-changer.

If any of this resonates with you, here are some tips to help with sleep loss:

    1. Keep your sheets and linen-fresh. According to a survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, ¾ people said they get better sleep on fresh sheets.
    2. Avoid caffeine, Alcohol, Nicotine, and strenuous exercise before you sleep.
    3. Get a sound machine with sounds that help you relax.
    4. Keep your phone far away from you. Re-arrange your furniture if needed.
    5. No screen time 1-2 hours before bed. All that screen time will stimulate your brain instead of helping you relax.
    6. Pick-up a book and read. Reading for 30 minutes can help you relax better than being on Instagram for over an hour before bed.
    7. Keep a journal next to your bed stand. When having too many thoughts on your mind, use your journal as your brain dump.
    8. A Magnesium supplement can help relax your muscles and mind.
    9. Keep your bedroom completely dark and cool.
    10. Taking a Melatonin supplement can also help when all fails. Avoid taking it every day. If not, your body will get used to needing it all the time.
world sleep day
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Be intentional about your sleep and you will certainly reap the benefits. Happy Slumber!

*This article is for educational purposes, and not intended to be medical advice. Please consult your doctor regarding health concerns about your sleep.