Why Quality Sleep Is Often Overlooked
In high school and in college there were times when I overlooked sleep on the weekend. Staying up late with friends was higher on my list of priorities. Other than that, I cannot think of a time-stretch when I did not prioritize a good night of sleep. During my time with roommates I discovered that the sleep priority was abnormal. I had trouble understanding why I would walk downstairs at 8:00 a.m. to find a roommate asleep on the couch with the tv still on (the electric bill might have also been on my mind at that time).
Within the last 9 months I have also bargained with my sleep priorities. Madelyn’s well-being has taken first place. We have yet to perfect her sleep schedule, and we are not yet in the category of excited parents posting their child’s sleep miracles. Madelyn had about 2 months when she was awake every two hours. Now she is up for one reason or another at least once per night, and I am happy to take plenty of turns helping her when she needs it. Fortunately, Lorean and I have offset sleep schedules, so we both get at least 8 hours each night. I sleep from 12-8 and she is sleeping from 9-5 most nights.
Regardless of whether the sleep issue is choice, circumstance, or somewhere in between, insufficient sleep is a modern health epidemic according to me and the CDC. The world of psychology has some great ideas to help, but I think it is crucial to gain a better understanding of the impact which a lack of sleep has on the human body.
The Negative Impacts of Insufficient Sleep.
I am going to skip over the metabolic specifics and jump right to resulting items of interest. The deprioritization of a good night sleep is a major cause of the obesity and diabetes epidemics of today.
I wish that would be enough motivation for everyone to go to sleep early and that would solve the issue. Unfortunately, the debilitating health effects of processed foods, over-medication, physical under-activity, and excessive light stimulation have each been associated with the cause of the current sleep epidemic. The lack of quality sleep, which the average individual attains, inevitably enhances the degrading health effects of processed foods, over-medication, physical under-activity, and excessive light stimulation. And the cycle continues.
It is fascinating that these seemingly unrelated topics have harmoniously synchronized into the major problem it is today. I do not have a quick fix for the sleep problem. Although plenty of other sources have some great ideas, the only way to truly correct the problem is to re-prioritize your health.
Optimizing Your Potential for a Good Night Sleep
This means that a healthy diet, more physical activity, less exposure to toxicity, and minimized evening light stimulation need to be prioritized. Health practices should be the first line of defense and the major form of treatment for obesity and blood sugar challenges. Finally, positive night time habits including visual or audio books, family communication, outdoor time, indoor games or puzzles, and meditation are great options to be included within nightly routines.
Our sleep time schedule is not extremely consistent and certainly not perfect, but I am appreciative that our general health as well as our nighttime habits do allow us the restorative pleasure of a good night sleep.
Let me know if you would like me to expand on any of these topics, and here is a quick link to the comments section.