Making sleep a priority

When improving wellness, better sleep should a priority vs nutrition, fitness programs or prescription

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Too often, the focus is on being more active, look into new diets or exotic holidays.

These would bring energy, improve strength or cure depression.

The cornerstone of a sustainable and healthy body is quality sleep.

Many brush off sleep. Society or human groups do not value or celebrate when you take a good night sleep. Nobody gets alarmed when you miss a night sleep. Even, all-nighters marathons are celebrated as a proof of motivation and dedication.

Yet, lack of sleep or sleep deprivation deregulates main body functions : impaired brain activity, cognitive dysfunction, weakened immune response, hormonal system dysfunction, poor muscle repair, risk of Type 2 diabetes, higher blood pressure, weight gain, heart disease and so on.

This means quality sleep must be a priority, above nutrition, leisure, physical activity and even work.

Here’s my sleeping plan, let me know if it is good for you:

  • If I do not feel well, I try to see first if I had quality sleep recently, before thinking of stress, nutrition or anything else.
  • I close negative emotions.
  • If I have not been sleeping well recently, I make sure not to overstrain. That means in order : not taking any caffeine (coffee or tea) 5 hours before sleep, no strenuous exercise, no blue light 3 hours before sleep, lower home temperature 2 hours before sleep, massage 1 hour before sleep, camomille tisane 1 hour before sleep.
  • Moderate exercise such as 30mn walking at a good pace at 5pm can improve sleep.
  • Move or change sleeping conditions if not optimal. That can include moving out or thinking about the sound environment.
  • Activity trackers and sleep apps can help measure good sleep and give insights. However, trackers do not improve sleep quality and impact is limited.

References:

  • D. J. Bartlett, N. S. Marshall, A. Williams, R. R. Grunstein. June 2007. Sleep health New South Wales: chronic sleep restriction and daytime sleepiness. Internal Medecine Journal
  • June J. Pilcher PhD & Elizabeth S. Ott BS. March 2010. Relationships Between Sleep and Measures of Health and Weil-Being in College Students: A Repeated Measures Approach. Journal of Behavioral Medecine.
  • Hideki Tanaka, Shuichiro Shirakawa. May 2004. Sleep health, lifestyle and mental health in the Japanese elderly. Journal of Psychomatic Research

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