Restful, restorative, sometimes elusive sleep. Why is it that something that is so natural, so essential and necessary for good health can become so hard to do well? Has modern life has taught us now not to sleep? In a word, yes. It’s that perfect storm of a few less-than-stellar habits which, when combined, over time, wind up teaching your body how not to sleep. The good news however is that we can re-learn the art of sleep well at night by taking steps during the daylight hours to set the stage for sleep success at night. Here’s what you need to know and do to master the art:
More than just an annoyance, poor sleep is a major health underminer. Not taking sleep seriously impacts all aspects of your day-to-day life: how well you learn and process information, how clearly you think, how well you fend off illness, how well you age. And let’s not forget: your mood, your weight and yes, even your sex drive. Crappy sleep is a body bummer, and if you make a habit of it, you’re increasing your risk for exactly the kinds of health destroyers we’re all trying to avoid, like Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, heart attack/ failure, stroke, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and obesity. Sleep isn’t something to be toyed with – it’s serious business, and the time to clean up your sleep act is now.
Even though we all have an innate 24-hour rhythm, not all of our rhythms are the same. We all have a sleep chronotype – choosing a sleep-wake schedule that takes your chronotype into account will help you arrive at a rhythm that supports when you’re naturally inclined to sleep, wake up, and perform.