Exhausted No More! How to Sleep Your Way Into Optimal Health
Welcome to installment #19 of the A to Z for a Rocking Retirement. S = SLEEP. Hi Mary – how’s it going? Hi Judi – I’m exhausted. Mary says – ME TOO! Sound familiar? I hear this every day, especially from my nurse friends who are living with over-work syndrome.
I hate to say it, but the cure is to quit your job and go to bed. Of course that may not be an option, but I can tell you since I now am self-employed and can dictate my own hours, getting enough sleep is within my control and I think I have actually “caught up” after years of being sleep deprived.
So let’s delve into this sleepy issue and find out what is really happening when you don’t get enough sleep. And don’t worry - I will leave you with R & R tips so you don’t have to quit your job just to get some rest.
Did you know the amount of sleep you get is instrumental in quality of life issues such as:
• Cell renewal and rejuvenation
• Management of stress hormones
• Gut health
• Weight gain
• Chronic disease development
• Cognitive functioning
Who knew all of this was going on while we are sleeping? Unfortunately, we get so sleep deprived we don’t fully realize these benefits, and often start relying on drugs to get and stay asleep, setting us up for dependence and negative side effects.
I remember working straight nights for about 3 years and fell into the trap of taking Seconal so I could sleep during the day, but quit that drug right away because I was so groggy at work I couldn’t function. So I switched to Benadryl, and got hooked psychologically leading to years of thinking I couldn’t sleep without it. But I finally stopped one day and found I could actually sleep without it! Big surprise! And I have never taken another sleep med again.
So is sleep a problem for you? Here’s how to find out. Dr. Michael Breus, the “Sleep Doctor” www.thesleepdoctor.com uses the RULE OF 3:
3 nights per week – you have trouble falling or staying asleep
30 + minutes/night – you stay awake before sleeping
3 weeks – all of this lasts 3 weeks in a row
So what causes sleep problems in the first place? Here are the most common reasons.
1. Too much cortisol from:
- Being over-committed, over-stimulated, not enough down time
- Anxiety and depression
- Wired and Tired
2. Diet containing too much high glycemic foods, sugar, and gluten
3. Gut ailments that lead to inflammation. You can’t sleep with a belly ache!
4. Overexposure to EMFs (electro-magnetic frequencies like cell phones, computers, etc) leading to restlessness, can’t sleep well, and waking up tired, groggy or feeling hung over.
So what can you do about all of this? It is obviously a serious situation, but the good news is as you enter your new life with more control over your time – and more time that you can control – you can take some action steps toward living a wellness lifestyle. Here are tips from my Wellness Prescription for Sleep that you can start working on right now!
Emotional Wellness - Reduce your stress level
• Write down what you are grateful for at the end of the day so you feel good
• Take a relaxing bath before bed
• Decrease EMFs by removing electronics from your bedroom
• Darken bedroom with black-out curtains or use eye mask
• Use “white noise” machine to block out distractions
Physical Wellness – Take care of your body
• Don’t exercise 2-3 hours before bed – Increases your temp, cortisol, hunger
• Take pharmaceutical grade supplements
• Melatonin ½-1mg 90 mins before sleep
• Magnesium – calming and relaxing mineral found in a good multivitamin/multimineral
• Balance your blood sugar all day long
• Eat protein with every meal to prevent sugar spikes
• No sugar before bed
• Investigate causes of gut problems by eliminating food sensitivities
• Calculate your best sleep time using the Sleep Doctor’s method
Count back 7 ½ hours from when you wake up and that is when you need to go to bed
• Experiment with some light reading 1 hr before bed
• Stay on a sleep schedule that is the same time every day, even weekends
• Disengage from electronics 1 hr before bed
• Decrease alcohol 3 hrs before bed – alcohol prevents deeper sleep
Occupational Wellness – If you are still working, challenge the system to consider these ideas.
• Nap rooms at work
• Stress relieving breaks during the day
• Flexible work hours
• Consider changing jobs if it’s too stressful, or maybe this is the time you really do consider retiring!
• Relaxing music
Which of these tips will you be willing to work on right now to finally get a good night’s sleep!
And if you have successful sleep tips for us, please share.Last edit by Joe V on Oct 20
Apr 25Great info, I know I can always use more sleep. And I usually feel refreshed after a quick afternoon nap!Apr 25Even aside from EMF, just exposing your eyes to blue light from TV/tablets can also be really problematic. I've managed to mitigate this by using orange glasses, which filter the light. I also swear by the Phillips alarm clock which uses light to slowly wake you up. Now that I have one I don't think I can go without it anymore! Great article, thanks for sharing!Apr 26I would love to retire bit can't afford to. No retirement plan, so I'll be on SS only. Payback for working agencies
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