For arguments sake we are going to say there are 4 pillars for health, sleep, exercise, nutrition and realization. You can add in mental health and a few others but for my purpose today just 4 . Sleep being in my opinion the most important.
Sleep is the one pillar that you cannot escape from for more than a few days. All the others, even eating, you can neglect for weeks or even years, with the exception of water. So from a purely biological perspective, sleep is the most important pillar for restoration. Unfortunately in today’s culture, running on fumes is celebrated as a badge of honor. I myself fall into this trap all the time with my easy work schedule. This week it finally caught up with me in a big way. I spent the night in the ER with some sort of viral infection that I contracted in large part I believe because I am so sleep deprived
It is important that we consistently communicate the impact of sleep. Without sleep all the other things we invest time and money into for recovery are merely bandaids on the wound. We are not really healing just masking. For example I eat really well, take good quality supps, get regular soft tissue treatment and try for a few min a day of just down time. I believe all that was negated because of how little sleep I’ve gotten over the last few weeks. Add in some kookie little virus and boom! My body couldn’t deal with it.
Now there is some truth to the fact some of us need less sleep than others but the overwhelming sciostudoes show we need form 6-8hrs of good quality sleep. Any of you that work shift work k ow that’s almost impossible to do. I’m a firefighter and even a slow night I’ll get 2 calls so it’s almost impossible to get to those unbroken totals. Now I will try amd take a nap the following day to help but the fact is you cannot make up for lost sleep. Once it’s gone it’s like time, it is gone. Just something to think about. I also look at our bodies as clocks. We are all programmed to go off at a certain time . The only way to help extend that is sleep.
So what can we do to help get more/ better quality sleep? Here are some quick easy steps.
1- no electronic screens 1 hour before bed. If that’s not possible buy a pair of blue ray blocker glasses.
2- no alcohol or fatty foods before dinner. Both of these require a lot of energy to be digested and therefore make it tougher to get into rem sleep. Have a small carb meal before bed. Carbs release serotonin which will definitely help you get to sleep.
3- don’t toss amd turn and look at the clock. Doing this creates anxiety and will further complicate you getting to sleep. If you feel like it’s been around 20 min get out of bed, get a magazine and read in a chair till you feel drowsy. You may have to repeat this several times over a few days but trust me it works. I’ve done it myself.
4- so not watch tv in bed. Bed should be for sleeping and sex , that’s it. When you get into your bed your body should k ow exactly why it’s there. Agsin trust me I’ve done it.
Those are some quick basic strategies that I’ve learned form working with multiple sleep docs, have multiple sleep studies and ready tons of books. So when I say I’ve done it, trust me I’ve done it. I’m a lifelong insomniac and have been a FF in a large city for 23 years. I’ve gone literally 6 days on 3 hrs of sleep so I k ow what you are going thru.
If you need any ideas on books to read please ask.