Reminder #11: Optimizing Your Mind And Body With Sleep

reminder11-sleep

How is your sleep? 
If you are new to these Weekly Reminders you might like to know that your subconscious mind is accountable for 90% of your daily decisions. If all you do is read this email (and ignore the strategies), you are already sending a positive message to your subconscious mind. Congratulations! The more similar messages it gets, the better decisions you will make.

This week’s reminder:

Your sleep is precious.

If you thought of your sleep as your child or your pet, or your most precious belonging, you would do everything in your power to protect it, nurture it, and appreciate it. But most of us have neglected our sleep at one point or another. In some surveys, as much as 40 to 50 percent of the population report sleep complaints, and a majority of these complaints can be addressed through lifestyle changes. 

To maintain optimal physical, mental and emotional health, every species on earth needs to sleep. Elephants only need three to four hours per night. Mice sleep 14 hours a day. Humans are somewhere in between. The quality of your sleep is more important than the exact number of hours that you sleep. Waking up feeling alert and refreshed is a sign that you are getting the sleep you need. Here are some of the benefits of getting good quality sleep:

  • Lower risk of developing Alzheirmer’s
  • Less likely to develop colds
  • Less likely to develop insulin resistance
  • Can alleviate anxiety, depression and other mental health problems
  • More likely to be resilient when faced with unexpected challenges

But what comes first, a healthy day or a healthy night? The truth is that they are inseparable. The worse you sleep, the harder it is to make good decisions during the day, the more good decisions you make during the day, the more likely you will sleep well at night. The one decision you CAN make now, is to think of your sleep as one of your most precious possessions. When you truly value it, you will find ways to protect it, nourish it and enjoy it.

I invite you to do any of the following this week:

  1. Experiment with finding the right sleep hygiene for you. This might include not drinking any alcoholic beverages several hours before bedtime. Alcohol might help you relax but it will disrupt the quality of your sleep.
  2. Avoid screen time at least 1 hour before bed. Most people know this, but why don’t we do it?
  3. Make sure your room is pitch dark at night. This will stimulate the production of sleep hormones.
  4. Imagine yourself having a conversation with your sleep, what are its complaints? What does it need you to do differently? Is it getting enough love and appreciation? Or does it feel ignored and undervalued?
  5. Experiment with quitting all caffeine for one week. Yes, you might get headaches for a day or two. Yes, it might impact your ability to be productive and friendly at the same time. But the truth is that you shouldn’t NEED caffeine in order to be pleasant and productive, what you really need is good sleep, relaxation techniques and good nutrition.

Breaking bad habits and replacing them with good ones is not easy, but I’m sure you have done many things in your life that were not easy. The sooner you prioritize your sleep and your long-term health and well-being, the easier it will be.

Have a smarter day, a smarter week and a smarter life,
Ginny Santos, your holistic coach.

PS: If you like getting these weekly reminders and you know someone who could also benefit from them, please forward them this email and invite them to sign up here.  

Resources for deeper learning:

  1. Here’s an excellent podcast with Dr. Michael Breus on Optimizing your Sleep.
  2. An article on Sleep and Mental Health by Harvard Medical School.
  3. A written interview with a sleep specialist summarizing what can help and what’s a waste of money.

A love note from your future self:

We cannot add hours to our days without ignoring the natural cycle of the earth around the sun. But we CAN add days to our lives by taking good care of ourselves. The more you do this now, the longer I get to be around.
Love, from your future self.

Health Disclaimer: The content contained in this email is for educational and inspirational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health related advice because of something you may have read on this email.

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