Most of my adulthood I spent not giving sleep or quality sleep a second thought. For three years of my early 20’s I would stay up until 2 am and get up for work at 6. It didn’t phase me then. I could do it over and over without any severe consequences.
Little did I know I was doing major damage to my body. I often wondered why I was always sick , struggled with my weight, and could not shake the cravings. I thought it was solely because I didn’t care for my body the way I should.
When I started on my fitness journey sleep was not something I saw as a crucial part of my success. Of course working out and eating right were at the top of the list but not sleep. I would stay up late watching TV or go hang out with friends. Often getting less sleep than I should and definitely getting less quality sleep.
I didn’t know why even though I was working out and eating right that I still struggled with my weight and cravings. My constant battle with emotional eating was just crazy. I just couldn’t kick that habit and I couldn’t fathom why.
About nine months ago I started listening to a podcast called The Model Health Show. In some of the episodes they spoke about the importance of sleep and the effects that too little sleep could have. Effects like increased depression, mood swings, poor cognitive function, poor immune function, decreased metabolism, etc… It was aligning with what I was seeing in my own life.
I was always getting sick and it wasn’t until I looked at how my sleep was leading up to getting sick that I saw a correlation. I also saw a correlation between more emotional eating and lack of sleep. All of these puzzle pieces kept coming together. I was no longer driving myself crazy wondering what more I could do. Sleep was the missing link.
When I read the first version of the book Sleep Smarter. It opened my eyes to what I was really doing to my body by not getting 7-9 quality hours of sleep. Sleep needed to become a priority if I valued my health. I started reading more and more on the subject so I could be sure I got enough quality sleep. Now I have created a night time routine.
Even today after all of that research I still have days I don’t get enough quality sleep whether through my own fault or because of my family being sick and I see the differences immediately. Usually it will start with a stuffy nose and my brain moving at the pace of a snail then move onto me becoming full blown sick. The full blown sick happened today because of really poor sleep last night and an awful stomach bug.
If you are someone who struggles with sleep I recommend reading Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson and Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington. They both have some amazing tips to help you maximize your sleep. Both will be an eye opener to the importance of sleep. Start making sleep a priority and maximizing it as much as you can. It is so crucial for your health and wellness.