Confessions of Recovering Sleep Waster
Posted on October 8, 2020
by John McCarthy
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Are you an Auditory Learner? Well, Check out this podcast episode instead of reading below.
In light of my Sober October Shenanigans I think it is Important that I share some things about sleep with blog viewers/podcast listeners. In case somehow you haven’t seen my daily posts I’m not drinking any alcohol or consuming any tobacco in “Sober October.” I’m also avoiding streaming television services except for one movie a week if babygurl requests it. In addition I’m stretching for 20 minutes a day, reading for 20 minutes a day, and I start every morning with a 3 minute plunge into the ocean up to my neck. Lastly, I’m providing myself a daily sleep window of 8 hours.
In light of that last bullet I want to share some reasons why you should pay attention to your own sleep whether you are doing sober October or not. I say this because I used to be the king of sleep deprivation. I would rip caffeine all night long in an effort to avoid sleep, finding it to be a waste of time. My friends can all tell you I was frequently heard saying, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Well here are all of the reasons why you should not avoid sleep.
- 8 hours of sleep increases your immune system’s strength and your body’s ability to develop anti-bodies (take that COVID)
- 8 hours of sleep can lead to an increase in creativity and brain function specifically related to problem solving skills
- Increased sleep reduces hormones known to increase anxiety and depression
- Increased sleep can increase your willpower to resist unhealthy foods and activities
- Increased sleep is correlated with reductions in heart disease and Alzheimer’s
- Meatheads: More sleep leads to an increased release of naturally produced Human Growth Hormone leading to bigger and more recovered muscles.
If you want to learn more about all of the benefits of sleep I suggest reading this book. If you want to just take my word for it than here are some tips you can implement tonight to increase your sleep quality and duration.
- Warm Showers before bed increase blood flow and lead to a reduction in core body temperature that brings on sleep faster
- Schedule and Routine are just as important for starting your day off properly. Keep your evening routine similar and on a schedule and ensure you are getting in bed and waking up within the same half hour time frame daily.
- Exercise helps the body to use up unnecessary energy. Ensure you do so more than 3 hours before bed time if possible.
- Large Meals can cause indigestion that interrupts sleep. Try to eat dinner more than 2 hours before bed time but don’t go to bed hungry either.
- Naps after 3 pm can interrupt your circadian rhythm and negatively impact a good nights sleep. This doesn’t mean napping is bad and a lot of information exists to support bi-phase (two) sleeping parents in humans.
- Sunlight exposure in the day aids our body in regulating a circadian rhythm that unwinds at night
- Caffeine within 8 hours of bed time can interrupt sleep because caffeine has a very long half life of 8 hours.
- Alcohol not digested and filtered out of the blood stream within 2 hours of bed time can rob us of necessary REM sleep.
- Gadget Free Rooms are important and blue light avoidance at night can assist in better sleep. For this reason I sleep with a mask at night and my wife definitely makes fun of me for it.
I believe that sleep is the path to longer, happier, and healthy life for one reason. I have severely deprived myself of it and seen the repercussions. After focusing on sleep I have found I have more energy, a better mood, and increased performance in athletics and work. More Americans need to focus on sleep on a daily basis. Avoiding focusing on sleep now will force you to focus on health problems later.
Let’s Leave a Legacy!!!
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About the Author
John McCarthy is a Father, Son, Husband and former Marine Infantry Officer. He serves his local community and just wants to push people to be better humans. Check out the Tough Talk Podcast and other writings on this website to learn more.
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