If someone told you that you could look younger, feel better, boost your energy level, and keep yourself healthy, wouldn’t you want to know how to do that? It’s simple, it’s cheap, and it’s as easy as getting a good night’s sleep.
~ Marilu Henner, Total Health Makeover , page 148
What is a good night’s sleep? It’s probably between 6-9 hours long (and that depends on your body, so be honest when you think about it). It’s uninterrupted – by sound, light, temperature, and needing to go to the bathroom. It starts as early before midnight as you can manage.
That last one may sound odd, but it’s true – the more hours of sleep you get before midnight, the more rested and refreshed you’ll feel from your sleep. If you can get to bed by 10 PM, that’s great.
Experiment with your sleep time and find what works best for you.
Marilu calls sleep the fountain of youth. In the Total Health Makeover she says, “if someone told you that you could look younger, feel better, boost your energy level, and keep yourself healthy, wouldn’t you want to know how to do that? It’s simple, it’s cheap, and it’s as easy as getting a good night’s sleep.”
A few facts about Sleep –
We spend almost one-third of our lives asleep.
You can improve your immune system with a consistent regime of good sleep.
Sleep improves your memory.
Sleeping well will help you master all the other THM® steps.
Here’s how to assess your sleep health in THM® terms.
Beginner * Become aware of your body’s sleep patterns. Notice when your body needs sleep and also the times you sleep when you don’t really need it, and why.
Intermediate * Same as beginner, plus try to establish healthy sleeping habits, like getting to bed and waking up at the same time each day, and getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and getting to bed before midnight.
Advanced * Same as intermediate, plus keep a sleep journal to better track your pattern, including any roadblocks to a good night’s sleep.
Makeover Maniac * Become so obsessed with your journal that you no longer have time to sleep.
Getting a full night of good sleep is a key to good health. One of sleep’s greatest gifts is hormone balancing. Once we get below 7 hours of sleep a night, we are automatically at increased risk for diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke, depression, and obesity.
Slow waves = better metabolism. That deep, dreamless, slow-wave sleep that we fall into about three or four times a night may actually regulate our metabolism, according to some researchers. This stage of sleep starts about an hour after we fall asleep, and during that time we release growth hormone, which prompts the body to burn stored fat. As we age, we get less time in this stage – perhaps only 5-10 percent of our sleep time. Compare that to the 20 percent we get when we’re young, and it’s clear why we may feel shortchanged.
If we have just two nights of bad sleep, our hormones start to rebel. Leptin, which manages our satiety (fullness, satisfaction), will be reduced by 20 percent. Ghrelin, which manages our hunger, can be increased up to 30 percent. In two crappy nights, we get hungrier and we don’t feel as satisfied by what we’ve eaten. For most of us, that leads to snacking or overeating.
Add one more night of bad sleep, and we become 25 percent less sensitive to insulin. It’s the same change in insulin resistance as if we instantly gained 25 extra pounds.
Do yourself a big favor. Stop those fat-storage hormones and green-light the fat-burning hormones. Help your body stay healthy and drop weight by getting at least seven hours of sleep a night!
The body releases it’s greatest concentration of human growth hormones (HGH) during sleep. These are the main ingredients that help the body repair damaged tissue. HGH spurs cell division and organ growth, particularly during childhood. It tapers off in adults after age 30.
Sleep deprivation can cause immune system failures. Bacteria that we normally are able to fight off start to run wild. One single night of sleep deprivation can result in a 30 percent decrease in the activity of cells that attack tumors in the human body.
When your doctor says “get some rest” it means you need to stop what you’re doing and get some sleep, so that your body can start focusing on healing itself at the cellular level.
Do your health a favor – get a good night’s sleep.
One of the best ways to get a jump on your day is to start thinking about it the night before.
Before you go to bed tonight, spend 30 minutes preparing for tomorrow:
check your calendar for tomorrow’s events (business meetings, kids’ sports, etc)
know what you’ll eat for breakfast
pack as much of your lunch (and your kids’ lunches) as possible
check backpacks, briefcases, totebags, and purses (lunch money, permission slips, flash drives, power cords, library books, homework, USB cables, textbooks, uniforms, instruments, sports equipment … this list can go on forever, can’t it?)
lay out your workout clothes if you work out at home; pack your gym bag if you work out somewhere else – don’t forget your shoes
lay out your clothes (and your kids’ clothes) for the day
put your skin brush on the bathroom counter or scale, where you’ll see it first thing
fill your water bottle
You’ll sleep better tonight, you’ll have a jump start on your morning, and it will make the whole day go easier.
People who get five or fewer hours of sleep a night are 55% more likely to be obese than those who sleep 8 hours straight.*
Sleep deprivation may increase your output of hunger hormones, turn off your fullness hormones, and bring on cravings for simple carbs (sweet and sugary foods), which perk you up. Sleep gives your body a chance to rebuild and repair itself.
Not sleeping for at least 7 hours each night? Start improving now, by getting to bed 15 minutes earlier tonight. (That might mean starting to get ready for bed a lot earlier!) Then every few nights, go to bed another 15 minutes earlier, until you’re at a minimum of 7 hours each night.
*According to a review of 45 studies published in the journal Sleep.