Sleep is Important to Your Good Health

20 Jan

Have you noticed how many news reports there are lately about getting enough sleep? As a nation, we are deprived of sleep. One of the benefits to getting enough sleep, the experts tell us, is that it can help prevent weight gain.

sxc.hu 963360 Gorilla Sleeping

Lack of Sleep can Result in Weight Gain (sxc.hu PaulMT)

Lack of sleep interferes with our ability to concentrate. Sleeplessness also causes memory lapses. When we do sleep, we should avoid cat naps longer than 30 minutes.

sxc.hu 640611 Cat Nap

Don’t Take Long Cat Naps (sxc.hu EweSaidIt)

And perhaps the most important, sleepiness is the reason for many traffic accidents.

 

But if we have problems falling asleep or staying asleep, what can we do? The experts tell us to be sure our bedroom is cool: 65 degrees. The room should be dark and not contain a television or computer.

sxc.hu 709419  Sleeping at the Computer

Sleeping at the Computer (sxc.hu gozdeo)

If you have a digital clock, you should prevent the glowing clock numbers from facing you. I block the numbers and their light with a box of tissues. When I want to see the time, I lift the tissue box.  Experts also tell us to wake up the same time every morning.

sxc.hu 1146531 Alarm Clock

Set Your Alarm Clock for the Same Time Everyday (sxc.hu zvon)

When I have a poor night’s sleep, I find getting up the same time the most difficult instruction to follow.

Make sure you have a comfortable pillow and that your mattress isn’t lumpy.

sxc.hu 515207 Racoon

Poor Conditions for Sleep (sxc.hu – deste)

We are told if we can’t fall asleep within 15 minutes, to get up and do something quiet until we are sleepy. What would that be? Read a book? Take up knitting? Listen to the radio? Who can find anything decent on the radio at 3:00 am? Don’t you need to turn on a light to read a book or knit – and isn’t light something we want to avoid? It’s a conundrum.

While I was thinking about this sleep problem, I began thinking about the times when I had problems staying awake!

  1. During pregnancy. When I was pregnant, I would come home from classes at 3:00 pm, go to bed and sleep until 6:00 pm, get up and eat dinner, and then go back to bed around 10:00 pm and wake up the next day around 7:00 am! I could sleep at the drop of a hat! This is common for pregnant women and typically lasts only for the first trimester.
  2. When I had the flu. There is something about being sick that allows you or maybe forces you, to slow down. Sleep seems to come naturally and often. I could sleep during the day and then sleep at night too. If I had a cough, I would take Robitussin DM (at night) and that would always make me even more sleepy.
  3. Riding the subway. The constant rocking back and forth was reminiscent of being rocked in a cradle or a parent’s arms. Often, someone sitting next to me on the train would be leaning heavily against me as they snoozed. While I could appreciate their giving in to the delicious dozing, I didn’t appreciate their weight which was sometimes substantial! However, I could hardly cast any stones because I’ve fallen victim to the sleep fairy on the NY Flushing line more than once.
  4. Flying on a commercial airline. This was hit and miss. There were times I would fall asleep and times I wouldn’t. It depended on how excited I was about my trip, who the person was sitting beside me, and when food was going to be served!
  5. Storytelling. I doubt any of us remember falling asleep when we were infants as someone read us a story, but we all know that has happened. Many of us with children watched our kids, or our grand kids fall asleep as we read to them. There’s something about storytelling that seems to put children to sleep.

 

Aside from these ways to fall asleep, I recently found a unique way to fall asleep or to get back to sleep if I wake up. Read about it here then try it, and tell me if it works for you. Do you have a sleep story?

Happy Sleeping!

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25 Responses to “Sleep is Important to Your Good Health”

  1. Born To Organize January 21, 2014 at 6:16 pm #

    Great post! I’m really putting some effort into a regular bedtime *and* an earlier bedtime. Thank you.

    Like

    • Marcella Rousseau January 21, 2014 at 10:41 pm #

      Good for you! My hours are terrible. I’d like to be asleep by midnight but that never happens. I usually wake up at 9:30 am and I can do that because I don’t work full time anymore. It has something to do with the fact that I’m in my mid-60’s now and I want to squeeze out every minute that I can. At least that’s what I tell myself. Logically though, if I’m getting up at 9:30 am, that really doesn’t make any sense. Still, I usually average 7 hours of sleep so I guess it doesn’t matter what time I fall asleep or get up as long as I get enough sleep.

      Like

      • Born To Organize January 21, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

        I guess the point is to feel rested. Some days I wake up without an alarm and feel ready to go. Other days I’m struggling to get up. I still have school-aged boys so we’re up at 7:00 throughout the week.

        I used to be a night owl, but just can’t do that anymore.

        It’s all interesting, isn’t it?

        Like

        • Marcella Rousseau January 22, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

          Waking up without the alarm and ready to go is the best feeling although sometimes I surprise myself and wake up earlier than I would have preferred. If I stay in bed, I’ll eventually fall back to sleep but then I won’t wake up until noon! Yes, I feel well rested but half my day is gone and I’m not happy about it! Any mother who has boy(s) should be allowed to sleep as long as she wants! I declare it! : – )

          Like

          • Born To Organize January 22, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

            LOL! I’ll ask you to put that in writing!

            Like

            • Marcella Rousseau January 24, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

              I think I just did! I bet you can find a website or you may already have some software, where you can design a certificate that says something like, “PROCLAMATION FOR MOTHERS” “Mothers of boys can sleep in on weekends. So ordered by the league of women for self sacrifices in assisting future citizens of the United States of America.” Then frame it and post if over your bed. LOL!

              Like

  2. bragnbutter January 21, 2014 at 1:28 am #

    Oh I know so well what you’re talking about here! Just the night before yesterday I had a terrible nights sleep – it spoils the whole day after for me. It’s funny that you have found the same solution :-) when I turn on audiobook it takes me approximately 2 to 5 minutes to fall asleep. What you say about the voice of the reader I have find very important. I found the Chronicles of Narnia series to be really helpful. Lynn Redgrave and Patrick Steward are such great storytellers and have such great voices.

    Like

    • Marcella Rousseau January 21, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

      You know, I’m going to have to take you up on the Chronicles of Narnia. I’m just not into the wizardry stories that are so popular now but I will give it a try. I would never in a million years criticize anything done by either of the Redgrave sisters! I think they hung the moon! The fact that I idolize the Redgraves and don’t care for the wizards might be just the ideal combination to put me to sleep! Hah! Thanks for the tip!

      Like

  3. mikeakin1 January 20, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

    Great post! I agree totally that sleep is more important to the overall health of a person than they realize.

    Like

    • Marcella Rousseau January 20, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

      Sleep and exercise. One compliments the other.

      Like

      • mikeakin1 January 20, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

        Thanks and yes I need more of both :)

        Like

        • Marcella Rousseau January 20, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

          Me too!

          Like

          • mikeakin1 January 21, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

            Question for you. I work 12 hour shifts, 4 on 4 off. Would you exercise or work out only on the days you have off, or try to do something at least every other day? The 12 hour shifts are a killer.

            Like

            • Marcella Rousseau January 21, 2014 at 10:05 pm #

              Shift work is difficult on a body not to mention on a marriage. I used to date several men who worked shifts. All were divorced. : – ( I vaguely remember reading a study about the effects of shift work but it was a long time ago. I can’t say I recall anything positive about it. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t improve your situation. To answer your question, it depends on the type of shift work you do. Is it mostly mental or is it physical? If it’s physical, then I would say don’t do any exercise other than walking on your work days and start off slowly. If your “killer” shift is mental, then I would say workout with weights your first and third days off OR your 2nd and 4th days off (twice in the 4-day off period.) Whichever works better for you. Start off slowly with this too. It’s no fun to be sore or to need to recover from an injury from doing too much too soon. If you really want to do it right, see your doctor first and get his/her opinion. I don’t know what kind of shape you’re in. Also, find a doctor who works out him/herself. I think obese doctors ought to be ashamed of themselves. What are your eating habits like?

              Like

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