Monday, January 9, 2012

Week 2 - Aim for 8 (1-9-12)

I've done fairly well at the first week's challenge of drinking 14 cups of water a day!  I don't think I've hit my goal every day, but I've been pretty close.

The challenge for week 2 is to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.  The benefits of being well rested are many:

According to a Harvard Medical School report, here are just a few of the things that getting adequate sleep will benefit:
  • Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
  • Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
  • Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
  • Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
  • Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
  • Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.
I'm usually asleep by 10:30 and up by 6:30, which, in theory, gives me 8 hours of sleep.  The problem I've been having of late is staying asleep.  I wake up between 2:00-3:00 and then find myself tossing and turning and not able to fall back to sleep until close to 5:00.  I'm not sure what I can do to change this.  I've tried warmer, cooler, nothing to drink after 4:00 in the afternoon, not eating late at night, eating a snack before bed, even alcohol!

So for this week's challenge I will try to go to bed a bit earlier, let myself sleep in when I can and try some middle of the night relaxation techniques to try and overcome my wakefulness.

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