Fitness Friday

Ahhh… Sleep


There are few people in this world I know that don’t like sleep. There are people I know who can’t sleep well but most of those people wish for sleep.

Sleep and I are best friends. I love taking naps and will try to take one whenever I can. I’m one of those people that when both kiddos are napping, I am too! I may feel a little guilty when I wake up, thinking I could have gotten so much done while they were asleep, but I’m a better mom and wife when I nap.

It’s funny that I’m writing about sleep this week. Why? Because Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday night I was getting 6-7 hours of straight sleep!! It was A M A Z I N G  following a week of 4 hour stretches at the most. Then just last night, Wednesday night, the amazing-ness stopped. Most if it had to do with a late evening cat-nap, but I couldn’t fall asleep and then was up at 2ish and 4ish and 7ish and The Hubs was up with me. It was rough on both of us.

Soooo, here is why sleep is so important and even if you have kiddos, why napping is a great thing to do.

*Healthy brain function and emotional well-being: When you are sleeping your brain is healing from the days activities and is preparing new pathways to retain the things that you have learned throughout the day. If you aren’t getting the sleep you need, you have trouble solving problems or making decisions {I totally struggle with that when I don’t get enough sleep}, and you tend to be more emotional as well. Children will also express their tiredness through tantrums or mood swings.

*Physical Health: Sleep really affects your physical health whether you realize it or not. While you sleep you muscles and heart are repairing themselves from the activities of the day. Getting the right amount of sleep can decrease the risks of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Sleep also helps to regulate your hormones and supports growth and development. Ever noticed how when you are sick you just want to sleep? Sleep also helps the immune system fight back and get you better!

*Day time performance and safety: We all know that we should not operate heavy machinery while sleepy. Do you realize that means cars as well? Driving sleep deprived is just about as dangerous as driving drunk. Not getting enough sleep leads to lack of productivity at school, at work, even at home. I know that when I’m struggling with of sleep, I want to do nothing! Have you ever heard of micro sleep? Have you ever driven somewhere and wondered how you got from point A to point B? Sadly I’ve done that a few times. Micro sleep can occur more often the less sleep you get. I’ll share more about micro sleep next week.

So with all of that being said, we need sleep big time. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that hitting the snooze button a million times is a good idea. It may feel good to hit the snooze button because you are cold and want to stay under the warm covers, but in reality you are setting yourself up for a groggy fog filled day.

Your body has several mechanisms to prepare you to wake up and get moving. One of these is turning up your core temperature, which makes you feel more alert and less sleepy. This starts about two hours before the body feels ready to wake up… If you’re not getting enough sleep, your alarm clock is going off while your temp is still in the deep-sleep range. The air in your bedroom feels punishingly cold; your bed feels cozier than ever… the body needs some time to get you ready to wake up. When you let yourself go back to sleep, your body thinks, “False alarm! I guess I didn’t need to do anything, because we’re not getting up after all,” and settles in. When that buzzer goes off a second time, … your body and brain are taken by surprise, resulting in that groggy, fuzzy-headed feeling called sleep inertia. The more you snooze, the more confused your body and brain get (“So are we going back to sleep or not?!”), so you’ll probably feel more out of it even though you actually spent extra time in bed. **

The best way to solve the problem of wanting to snooze, is to set your alarm for the same time every day and actually get out of bed. Put your alarm clock across the room if you have to. I’ve done that before. The more you do that, the more you will actually feel tired at the same time every night. Despite the fact that Sweet Pea is 5 months old and her schedule varies often, my body is used to her schedule enough that by 10pm I’m ready for bed. Her next feeding is between 4-6am. The closer she goes to 530 or 6am, the more likely I am to wake up on my own and I love that. It’s a wonderful feeling to wake up slightly before her and feel ready enough for the day. And let me tell you, it really is nicer to waker up to quite then it is to a blaring alarm clock or screaming baby. No matter how sweet the melody is or how quiet you set your alarm, it’s still shocking to wake up to.

So, work on finding the time you want to get up every day, that includes Saturdays and Sundays, and stick with it. The longer you stick with that schedule the more your body will find a rhythm to fall into and enjoy.

{*Source} {**Source}

 

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