Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sleep: Laying the Foundation

With the flurry of post we had at the beginning of the week I think some of you may have missed this really amazing post about sleep that Melissa did a lot of research on. Sleep is as essential as it.

I'm on a sleep mission. To get others to sleep enough because sleep really is the foundation for so many other healthy habits and it's something that you don't have to think much about or stress over or remember to do . . . once you're doing it.

So here are borrowed snipits from studies and news reports on the importance of sleep:

You think you can cut on on less than 7 hours? Here's the Mayo Clinic on how much sleep your body NEEDS: 7-9 hours. If you get more or less, your ability to perform complex mental tasks is compromised and you fall into the statistical group known as: higher mortality rate. {Whenever my husband and I have a health related debate, it always comes down to checking either the Mayo Clinic or the Cleveland Clinic's web site for the official word on what's what.} Of course, I have to link to the Cleveland Clinic too since it's in my hometown. This paragraph pretty much sums it up:

"People suffering from sleep deprivation experience difficulty making decisions, irritability, problems with performance, and slower reaction times, placing them at risk for automobile and work-related accidents. Sleep loss can also adversely affect life by contributing to the development of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease." (This recent study maps the link between getting fewer than 6 hours of sleep and a higher incidence of a pre-diabetic state, known as incident-impaired fasting glycaemia).

And about that sleep/weight connection, Web MD cuts to the chase and tells us about the affect of little sleep on those important hunger hormones, grelin and leptin: "The two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and leptin. “Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin,” Breus says. “Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.”

Also, if you don't get enough sleep, you can still lose weight, but it's less likely to be fat. See here. My favorite part of the article is this quote: "If your goal is to lose fat, skipping sleep is like poking sticks in your bicycle wheels," by Plamen Penev, MD, PhD.

What's more, sleep even makes you look more attractive; yup, that's right, beauty sleep is for real! A good night's sleep also helps with memory and creativity.

So how do we get more sleep? Think of how consistent we are with our children's sleep schedules and routines. Basically, that's what we need to do for ourselves too. Same time every night, same calming routine, same avoidance of sugary/caffeine stimulants late in the day.

After perusing all these links, I know you'll want to get your 7 1/2 - 8 hours. Those hours translate into better attitude, energy and beauty, fewer food cravings, and an increased ability to find your keys, remember and keep the obligations on your calendar, scrapbooking, craft-making brilliance, and so much more!

P.S. If you're a medical news junkie like me, just go to and type in whatever you're obsessing about that day. Good stuff.


  1. This post makes me sleepy!
    Thanks for the info!

  2. I can hardly wait for the little one to sleep through the night, it'll be soooo nice!

  3. Great info! I come from a long line of diligent sleepers. My body needs it, and I know it. But Audrey, please don't add it to the point system! We all know that mommas often have no control over the amount of sleep they get. Also, I often lay in bed exhausted, but sleepless.

  4. Maybe if sleep is added to the points list it could be qualified with going to bed at a certain time as to facilitate 8 hours of sleep. We can't always control what happens through the night but we can at least try to get to bed at a time that would allow us to get 8 hours under ideal circumstances. For example, I was woken up by a sick child last night but I still gave myself my 5 points because I was in bed at the time I had designated. Maybe this was sneaky of me but I specifically worded my week's goal to allow for just such events. Besides, sometimes I have a hard time falling asleep too;)

  5. I have always required at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep. If I don't get enough sleep I am hating life around 3pm at work. I can barely keep my eyes open and forget about concentrating. Sleep is important. Some of the things I do to get a good night sleep is no food after dinner, exercise at least 2 hours before beditme, no tv, computer or clock in my room and plenty of water during the day. I use my cell phone as my alarm. So if I wake up before the cell phone alarm goes off I just go right back to sleep because I know it is not time to get up yet. When I had a clock in my room I would just keep waking up and checking the time. This formula works well for me.