Saturday, April 20, 2013

#AtoZchallenge Remember to Rest

Rest Those Weary Bones

Okay, I'll admit it. When it comes to getting enough rest, I rarely hit the mark. I tend to be in go-go-go mode, so by the time I am winding down for the night, my mind is still racing. And it doesn't help that I am such a plugged-in person. Having the TV going or sitting in front of a laptop is not the best way to prep your mind for sleep. Even reading off of an ebook device or smartphone hurts the chance for a good night's sleep.

But sleep is a major factor of being healthy. Besides the fact that when I don't get a minimum of 6 hours of sleep (and yeah, I'm horrible at even managing that minuscule number), I'm a walking zombie the next day, not getting a sufficient amount of rest is bad for your body.

There are a lot of reasons for this: less sleep typically means taking in more calories. People that don't get enough rest have a more difficult time burning calories, too -- so that's a double whammy! And sleep is a major factor in controlling cortisol levels. Higher cortisol typically means a bigger appetite, and for me that means crazy carb cravings. It's wild that something like the amount of sleep we get can so strongly effect our hormones, appetite, and how our body deals with the calories we're taking in, but there is plenty of proof to indicate this is true.

To battle my sleep deprivation woes, and the cranky bleary-eyed mornings I typically have as a result, I downloaded the Sleep Cycle app onto my iPhone. With it, I can track how much and how well I'm sleeping each night. I've been using it for almost a month now, and it actually has changed my desire to get to bed earlier. Also, I love the alarm clock. I set it for the time I wake up, and the Sleep Cycle app wakes me up when I am in my lightest phase of sleep within a 30 minute window to my alarm. I think my husband is pretty happy that since I've been using this app I wake up much happier than I used to! I was pretty doubtful it would make a difference, but it definitely has.

I still have a lot of work to do to make sure I get ample rest, but I'm working on it every day. I know that by having a well rested mind and body, I'm much more likely to eat right and workout. If that weren't enough of a motivator, I also have a much better ability to fight off the negative effects of stress when I'm not just stumbling sleepily through my day. So as much as I love to always be on the go, I'm slowly learning that taking some time to rest will reset my body and let me enjoy my busy days even more!

I'd love to hear what you do to make sure you are well rested each day! How much sleep do you get each night?

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