I recently had a difficult first-hand reminder of how profoundly sleep deprivation affects us. There is a possum involved in this story and how I wish it had been playing possum, but read on to find out why.
Sleep is one of those non-negotiable elements of good health and for good reason. Without a good night’s sleep our bodies cannot take care of the business of repairing and growing tissue, releasing certain hormones, and restoring our energy. In a way it is similar to eating, for without it we literally cannot function or thrive. Lack of sleep results in waking up tired and groggy. We tend to go into caffeine mode to “power up” for the day, only to find ourselves crashing later and feeling even more tired. It impairs our ability to remember, to think clearly and we struggle with “brain fog” throughout the day. Reflexes are slowed and emotions may get a little testy. Chronic loss of sleep is also a key factor in the development and worsening of all types of chronic diseases and conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, cancer, depression and more.
Trust me. I work very intentionally to ensure a good night’s sleep for myself. There are no electronic devices at bedtime for me. No television, tablets or cell phones with their blue-light brain-waking effect that interfere with deep sleep. I have created a sleep oasis to lull me into relaxation. To wind-down I do this “old-school” thing called reading a book – the kind with actual paper pages. This acts almost like taking a tranquilizer for me and often the last sound I hear is the thud of the book falling onto the floor.
So I was not happy to be woken from a deep delicious dream by the sound that seemed to be coming from one of the outside walls of my bedroom.
I'm Carmina McGee, MS, RDN, and my mission is to support women to live their happiest, healthiest lives and THRIVE!