Sometimes, busy moms think they can get more done by sleeping less. But like a toddler who gets woken up early from a nap, lack of sleep will leave you grumpy, as well as affect your IQ, your perception of reality, your cardiac health, your metabolism, and your looks. Sounds like a few good reasons for an early bedtime.
In fact, next to eating fast food, not getting enough sleep may be the worst habit for your health.
According to WebMD.com, sleep deprivation is the root cause of many auto and work-related accidents.
Brain fog reduces reaction time and impairs attention and alertness.
Cramming for a test or presentation all night might seem like a good idea, but, in reality, concentration and problem-solving skills take a hike. Retention tanks. Reasoning fails.
Your ability to make a good grade or nice impression is severely curtailed by lack of sleep.
Insomnia raises the risk of heart attacks, blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes. It is one of the major symptoms of depression, starting a vicious cycle of sleeplessness, anxiety, and depression.
The less you sleep, the less you’re able to sleep.
And if all that isn’t enough to make you take a nap, the body responds to overtiredness with lowered metabolism and advanced aging. Yikes! You mean a little extra sleep might erase those dark circles and bags under my eyes without a face lift? Yep.
Chronic lack of sleep leads to weight gain and aging.
Sleepiness often causes the dreaded munchies. You know the feeling of grazing to find something that will satisfy a vaguely nagging feeling of wanting something salty. No sweet. No crunchy. No chocolate. When in doubt, always choose chocolate.
Afternoon slumps causes the munchies.
If you’re caught in the habit of staying up late to do one more thing, you need to break the habit. It might not be easy, but you will be surprised what a difference it will begin to make in how you feel and how much more you really accomplish. When you have energy and a good attitude, anything is possible.
- Stop the caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant. When I was younger, it didn’t affect my sleep much, or so I thought. Whether you go to sleep or not, caffeine can still affect the quality of sleep, which is vitally important to overcoming insomnia. Limit your coffee to a cup a day, and never after noon. Just say NO to energy drinks all the time.
- Wind down the day earlier. If you stumble in the house every night just as it’s time to get ready for bed, you probably will have a hard time relaxing and falling asleep. Cut something from the schedule to get everyone home earlier.
- Work out the kinks. Remember your stretches from Step 2. If you’re stiff and sore from a busy day rushing around or driving, 10-15 minutes of stretching and deep breathing is just the ticket to relax your body and your mind.
- Start a bedtime routine. A warm bath with lavender essential oil has been proven to calm a fussy baby. It might soothe your cranky inner child, too. Going to bed at the same time each night also helps the body adjust to a good schedule. Plan for 7-9 hours of sleep.
- Arrange your bedroom to encourage sleep. If there is a bright streetlight outside your window, use blackout shades. The darker the room, the better your body will relax. If your neighbors like to practice their garage band until midnight, it goes without saying that earplugs are a good investment. White noise, such as a fan or wave machine, helps many people block out irritating sounds, too.
A good night’s sleep affects so many things, from your health to your mind and mood. Do whatever it takes to get more sleep.
What is your go-to trick for falling asleep faster? Let me know in the comments.