Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Habit-A-Week Challenge: Get Enough Sleep

Last week I skipped doing the Habit-A-Week Challenge (I forgot actually) but it is back today! There's a great new habit we can all work on to help improve our health: get enough sleep. To read the details of this week's challenge, click here. Then come back and read the rest of this post.

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It is *so important* to our well-being to get enough sleep. When we are sleeping, our bodies are busy repairing any damage that was done during the day. I like to think of my body tightening up any loose skin from weight loss while I snooze! The correct amount of sleep leads to better energy levels, better moods, and can even contribute to weight loss.

Does the recent time change have your sleep schedule messed up? This is a good week to work on it. My routine: get in bed around 10 and read until I am sleepy. I am usually asleep by 11 that way. And I have recently tried melatonin and it did help me sleep better but also gave me a headache (which I have read happens for some people). So I don't use that anymore.

I sleep *much* better when I have not eaten junk all day. Nothing interrupts your rest like waking up choking on a digested chocolate cupcake mixed with hot dogs refluxing up your throat in the middle of the night. Don't go to bed hungry, but try not to eat too late. A small healthy protein-rich snack is a good idea to keep comfort levels just about right for rest. I also sleep better on days I exercise. A nice long walk or bike ride is a great idea. If you can't do that, do what you can. Walk out the door ten feet, enjoy the fresh air, and walk back. That was my exercise routine when I started trying to exercise at 278 pounds. You can work up to more and more time and distance. It does get easier :)

What's your routine for getting enough rest? What can you do to improve your sleep this week?

22 comments:

Seth said...

I have been oversleeping the last two days -- darn time change. I will get use to it but it is messing with me.

I'm glad you can get to bed by 10...My body will work well if I get to bed by 12...anything later and I'm tired the next day.

Angelia said...

I try to be in bed by 10 and then read until I fall asleep or listen to my hypnosis tape until I'm snoozing. I take melatonin and thankfully have not have problems with headaches. I think my main challenge is staying asleep.

Missa said...

The time change is killing me. I am all over the place. I can't get to sleep and then when my alarm goes off, I am hitting snooze too much.. This sleeping beauty needs her REST!!!

Cheers,
Missa
LosingEthel

Diana said...

Too funny. You have to read my post today. Great minds....

Anonymous said...

I have had insomnia for many years, and mine is related to PTSD hypervigilance. Insomnia has contributed to making weight loss more challenging for me (than it would be otherwise.) This (#%^&$@%!#) time change twice yearly seems to annoy many folks, but for those of us with pre-existing sleep problems....well, it is a nightmare. Um. A major issue.

This is not a happy week for me.

If any of you are good and sound sleepers, do not take that gift for granted! Rejoice if you are able to fall asleep and stay asleep. You may look back someday with longing.

*sob*

Good luck Lyn! This is an important topic.

-J.Darling said...

I find that there are several teas that help lull me to sleep. Before bed (while reading a book) I try to drink some Kava root, Chamomille, or other rest/destress teas. A few drops of Valerian root in a warm flavored drink at night will help you destress before bed too! :)

With the maniac schedule of a full time medical coder, and an actress/singer/songwriter/author - sleep can be hard to come by sometimes! But as dad always says - "Better to wear out than the rust out!"

theantijared said...

Sleep, schmeep!

Awesome job on getting to the 224 mark! Beyond awesome actually!

Me said...

How funny! We have our time change this coming weekend! It'll probably cost me...it's only one hour and it will have felt like 10! lOL I'm getting older....hihi.

Naaah, I have always needed at least 6-8 hours a sleep per night. If I get less for more than 5 days I get ill. It runs in the family.
I get about 7 hours during the week but over the weekend it can run up to 10! Love it!

I agree with you on the what you sleep depending on what you ate before you got to bed. I usually don't eat anything up to an hour before going to bed and then only something light.
Drinking calming tea also helps a lot. Warm milk, honey and whiskey.....but drink it while sitting in bed or you might not make it to it! ;) ;)

RedDaisy said...

I pray and I haven't finished a conversation with God in years.

If you aren't religious then just have a one way conversation with yourself listing what you are thankful for and then add what is stressing you out...list...without trying to solve.

Good luck

M Pax said...

I love sleep. It's one of my favorite things to do.

I like the change a habit thing. That's what I did. Not every week, but I changed one habit at a time. That really worked for me.

I want to try and get into the habit of drinking more water. You inspire me to start today.

CJ said...

I can sleep standing up, like a horse! I am trying to adjust to a healthy 7 hour sleep pattern

Sonogal said...

Funny, I posted about sleep today, too! Rather, lack of sleep. I absolutely LOVE to sleep, but this whole post-menopausal insomnia is really messing with me. This time change was the worst yet.

Ice Queen said...

I totally agree about how you eat affecting sleep. I am sleeping better since I tightened up y eating habits. And, when I slip I feel it. Even in the sack. I have trouble sleeping, pain, nausea and bad dreams. And awaken hung over and wanting to barf. To think I felt like this every night for years.

Reading helps me sleep. Something easy and undemanding. :D

Salted with Shadows said...

I am another insomniac with PTSD hypervigilance. I literally cannot sleep without medication. I have sleep apnea, too, but have been unable to tolerate a CPAP, but since my weight loss I think the sleep apnea has either resolved itself or at least improved. I'm sure that my lifetime of insomnia has contributed to my difficulties losing weight as well--I wish I'd known that a long time ago.
Like the previous poster, I cannot emphasize how lucky people can sleep are! If you're reading this and you're one of them, please appreciate it!!!

Things that can help me get to sleep are tea, reading, and if all else fails, music. I have a special 'quiet' playlist on my iPod that I sometimes use to get me to sleep. Other times, when I cannot sleep, I put the headphones on and try to doze. I avoid TV or being online when I can't sleep, although sometimes I will write.

Getting rest is so important. I'm glad you posted a blog about it, Lyn. I have learned to force myself to lie down and close my eyes no matter what. It can be hard to turn off the brain, but I make myself do it the best I can or I won't have energy to try to live a healthy day the next day.

The Chubby Girl Diaries said...

I try to go to bed the same time every night.

I find that if I eat healthy throughout the day and drink plenty of water, then I sleep so much better! Great post!

~Kellie

kelly said...

This time change kicks my butt every year. I hate giving up an hour of sleep - it will take me all week to readjust. I completely agree with you, the better I eat through the day the better I sleep through the night!

Texasmom1974 said...

What a great post! I've been trying to get enough sleep. I find the exercise I do helps me sleep so well! And, eating well keeps me from having indigestion, waking me up all night!

Claire said...

I go to bed late and get up late, but my quality of sleep isn't very good. I really need to work on it.

I find that taking calcium at night is a great aid to sleep. Valerian is fantastic when I'm really amped up, and I know I won't be able to fall asleep. Of course, last night I was awakened at 4:00 a.m. by an earthquake, so there was no helping that. :)

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about power napping! So much better for you than a cup of coffee in the afternoon.

TheLosingAmerican said...

oh well this is easy for me.....whenever i need a better sleep, I just work out really hard at the gym. I sleep through the night MUCH better than I used to!!

Steelers6 said...

I used to think if I was hungry in the evening I could just have something small, fairly healthy, etc., but I have recently read Jillian Michael's recommendation "Don't dine after nine" so I have been following that. Chrissy

beerab said...

I envy those who can sleep well. I have sleep apnea and even with my CPAP I'm tired. Losing weight has helped BUT the part that sucks is because of this and my PCOS it's so hard to lose weight :( I refuse to give up though.