We’ve all had it. That rare occasion when you don’t have to rush to work, the kids make their own breakfast, no one has an early soccer match, someone else feeds the dog, the planets align and somehow you manage to get an extra hour of sleep. You open your eyes, a little confused at first but well-rested and refreshed…for about 4 minutes. Then comes the guilt. You “slept in.” It’s practically a dirty word for most of us. What about work, the children, the errands? You’ve let everyone down by selfishly lazing around in bed all morning. Or at least that’s what you’re telling yourself as you rush out of the bedroom to see what havoc your indulgence has created.
Take a minute and think about this. Feeling guilty for doing something your body is telling you it needs. We eat until we’re full. We drink when thirsty. Why the stigma around sleeping when our bodies tell us to? The goal with the first installment in our series of posts on sleep wellness is to talk you out of this thinking. Sleep is not a luxury item from a catalog. It’s not a splurge. You are not overindulging.
"We really need to look at sleep as something that's just as important to good health as diet and exercise," according to Ronald Kramer, MD, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and a specialist at the Colorado Sleep Disorders Center in Englewood, Colorado. And he should know.
“I don’t need that much sleep.”
That may not be true. Everyone’s different. There’s no magic number. But a recent Gallup poll suggests that at least 40% of Americans are getting less sleep than they need. The general recommendation for an adult is 7-9 hours a night.
“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
Well, OK…but we’re not in a rush to get there. Are you? We all know the obvious side effects of a bad night’s sleep. Irritability, constant yawning, inability to focus. What about the deeper impact of sleep deprivation? According to Thomas Roth, PhD, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, "we have good data linking insufficient sleep with all sorts of problems. It's connected to poor performance at work, obesity, diabetes, excessive risk-taking behavior, and heart disease." In fact, drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 car crashes every year.
“You can’t make up for lost sleep.”
There’s a lot of debate about this. Well we’re optimists here at Soaring Heart. And there is research that strongly suggests you can catch up on sleep in the short term and reverse some of the ill effects of insufficient rest. We’re talking about daytime exhaustion, levels of inflammation in the body and Cortisol levels (which effect energy and stress management). Not to mention you’ll probably be in a better mood overall when you get a little extra shut eye. “Short term” is the key here. This doesn’t mean sleep 3 hours a night all week and then spend all day Saturday playing catch up. Some of that damage just can’t be undone. So playing the sleep catch up game should be your last resort.
“I couldn’t sleep if I wanted to.”
That just makes us sad. Everyone deserves to sleep well. If you have specific issues like allergies, heartburn or back pain that effect your ability to sleep well, stop in and talk with one of our sleep experts. They can explain how simple changes in mattress type, elevation and materials can help alleviate many common health issues. Maybe it’s a matter of environment or lack of comfort. Again, come talk to us. This is our world and we know our stuff.
We could go on and on about the importance of sleep; not just because we sell things for you to sleep on and under, but because we truly believe it. Adequate sleep is just as important as food and water. Sleep better, feel better. It’s that simple. Stop feeling guilty! Create a comfortable, natural, restorative environment and settle in for the night. And remember we’re here to help when you’re ready!