Monday, June 25, 2012


I just got back from my sister's bachelorette party in the Hampton's, and I am exhausted!

We stayed there for two full days and two nights - I got a total of 9 hours of sleep.  The entire time I felt like my body wasn't functioning properly.  I would wake up in the morning with what felt like a hangover!  (And no, I didn't have anything to drink! - I was the designated driver!)  I came home yesterday, went for a long walk, and was in bed by 9pm.  I slept for 10 hours and still did not feel like my normal, energized self this morning!

The lack of sleep affected my workouts and daily eating.  I could not bring my body to function for a high intensity workout, I had to walk instead.  I also kept craving sweet foods, because my energy level was so low.  My whole body just felt bloated, I was very irritable, sensitive to loud noise and bright light.  Thankfully, these effects are only short term.  Long term effects - from chronic sleep deprivation include obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and even early mortality!

I have been on a very regular sleep schedule for a long time.  The more intense my training is, the more I pay attention to my bedtime and amount of sleep.  I normally get 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep per night - depending on how tired I am from the day's activities.

Sleep is one of the best things you can do for your body!

Some health benefits of sleep include:

  • Healthier weight - because it reduces cravings you have when you are sleep deprived
  • Improves concentration and focus
  • Improves your athletic performance
  • Improves memory
  • Curb inflammation - linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging. 
  • Lower stress
Good sleeping habits:

  • Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even weekends. 
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.  If you need your morning coffee (like me) - drink it in the morning and try to avoid it at least 5 hours before bedtime.
  • Exercise and diet can help you get better sleep.  However, avoid exercise within a few hours of bedtime - your body needs to relax and unwind.
  • Don't go to bed on a full stomach.  It shouldn't be empty either - it will be harder to fall asleep.
  • Your bedroom should be dark and cool.
  • Avoid napping during the day.  If you are extremely tired - limit your naps to 30 minutes.
A good indicator of whether or not you got enough sleep - is if you wake up and feel re-energized.  

Hopefully I'll be back on track with my sleep schedule by tomorrow and feeling like my normal self!

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