Snooze alarms are our new BFF. Give us an extra 9 minutes and we’ll be good to go. Large cup o’ Java Joe times 2 or 3 or 4 to recharge the batteries. Schedules are so packed, but we can add just one more thing, there, right in between yoga and going to work, wedge it in, you’ve got time for a quick post office stop and Whole Foods to pick up lunch. Careful, you miss the traffic window of opportunity by even one minute and you’re stuck – and late.
Working late to make up for getting to work late, then another Whole Foods stop to pick up something for dinner. Cook supper, wash the dishes, catch Desperate Housewives or Biggest Loser, tuck the kids in, read a book, enjoy a glass of wine, more TV. Pack it in. You can always shave off another hour of sleep.
But, sleep deprivation is not so good for our body. Or mind. And 35% of Americans say they don’t sleep the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. The result? Increased risk of disease, like diabetes, heart disease and stroke. And weight gain. Yep. Metabolism changes and our body can’t use glucose as effectively as with adequate sleep. It dulls hormonal responses to hunger and fullness and we get more cravings for high-fat, high-carb foods.
According to Web MD, it even kills sex drive, leads to depression and accidents, dumbs us down, ages our skin, and makes us forgetful. So if you find yourself in that 35% category of sleep deprivation, here are a few expert tips to get your Z’s to stay in bed longer:
- Schedule sleep. Get into the habit of going to bed and awakening at about the same time each day. Even better, make bedtime earlier so you can rise without an alarm.
- Nicotine, alcohol and caffeine should be avoided – they are known sleep disturbers.
- Begin quieting down your nervous system earlier, like when the sun begins to set. Dim inside lights earlier, turn off the tube and definitely switch to a benign show instead of Criminal Minds. Take a warm bath, listen to softer music, or have warm milk with nutmeg before falling into bed.
- Exercise is jazzercise and is stimulating. Find a time to get activity in other than evening. Use evening hours for gentle stretching instead.
- Too much or too little food in the belly can either lead to heartburn or bathroom breaks during the night. Find a happy medium in the amount you eat and drink in the evening.