Sleep Your Way to the Top…of Your Health – the nourished epicurean

(THE NOURISHED EPICUREAN) Kathryn Matthews, November 4, 2018 — Do you resist going to bed….even when you feel exhausted?

Do you feel compelled to wrap up “one more” thing for work?  Respond to “one more” email?  Check out Instagram or Facebook “one more” time?  Send “one more” text?

So do 90% of American adults!

According to a 2018 poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, only 10% of American adults prioritize their sleep as a health goal—compared to other lifestyle habits, like fitness/nutrition, work, social life, hobbies or personal interests.1  And: only 27% get the recommended 7-9 hours of weekday sleep; over two-thirds (65%) get less!

Many of my clients tell me that they don’t go to sleep—even when they feel tired—because:

  1. They want to unwind and “de-stress” from the day.   **“Unwinding” typically refers to some kind of online engagement: social media, surfing the net, watching a favorite show (or several) and/or emailing or texting.
  2. They can “get more done” when everyone else has gone to bed.
  3.  They want “me time”.

Yes, I get it…but did you know…

  • Lack of sleep has been associated with increased risk of some cancers, including breast cancer and prostate cancer?2
  • Women who sleep fewer hours on a regular basis may develop more aggressive breast cancers compared with women who sleep longer hours?3
  • Sleeping too few hours and poor-quality sleep have been associated with increased risk of obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and total mortality?
  • Sleeping less than 6 hours a night may increase your risk of having dangerous polyps in the colon or rectum?4
  • Chronic sleep disruption is associated with increased risk of liver cancer?5
  • Insufficient sleep depresses your immune function, leaving you vulnerable to viruses, like colds and the flu?

In our 24-7 go-go culture, we undervalue sleep. Yet, getting enough quality sleep is critical for repairing your body, balancing your hormones and weight management, as well as for fat loss and building muscle.

Unfortunately, for many of us, simply going to bed early (or earlier) does not ensure that we will fall asleep easily, or sleep through the night.

So, how do we get enough quality sleep?