Are you getting enough sleep? The Healthy Doctor 30 Day Sleep Challenge

Are you getting enough sleep? The Healthy Doctor 30 Day Sleep Challenge

puppiessleepingAre you waking up exhausted? Finding it hard to make it through the day without multiple coffees? Feeling irritated and moody? Suffering from “brain fog”? Frequently sleepy? Finding it difficult to wind down at night? You might not be getting enough sleep.

We all need a certain amount of sleep every day. Accumulating a “sleep debt” results in chronic overtiredness, reliance on stimulants, mood problems, cognitive problems, excessive sleepiness (or sometimes the opposite – insomnia), and can also lead to more serious problems like heart disease and cancer. Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our health, but in our modern society with its fast pace, multitasking, and use of electronic devices, we often find it difficult to get the zzz’s that we need. If you need more convincing, here’s a great TED talk by Russell Foster, a circadian neuroscientist.

I have started a 30 Day Sleep Challenge on Facebook but am aware that many of you do not use Facebook – so I’ll also be posting on my blog. Here are some of the reasons to take part in the Sleep Challenge, and how to do it:

  • improved energy and wellbeing
  • improved creativity
  • more positive moods
  • less carbohydrate cravings
  • weight loss
  • reduced risk of chronic disease (cancer, heart disease)
  • increased sex appeal (ok I made this up but I am sure there has been a study on it!!!)

How to take part in the Sleep Challenge

1. Estimate how much sleep you need each night. (Hint: it’s the amount of sleep you get on holidays, when you don’t wake to an alarm clock; or it’s the amount of sleep if you’ve woken naturally in the morning).
2. Estimate what time you will get woken up in the morning.
3. Subtract the number of hours of sleep you need.
4. Go to bed at that time!
5. Start your night time routine at least half an hour before your chosen bedtime. (That allows you some time to faff around with brushing your teeth, checking Facebook one last time etc… LOL).
6. If your sleep is broken, that’s ok… Try and get at least the amount you need in the separate blocks.
7. Naps are ok – if you need a nap, and can take one, then do it! But see it as a sign you need more sleep at night. And be aware that it will interfere with your ability to fall asleep that night.

If you have a late night or two, aim to “catch up” on this sleep during the week i.e. go to bed earlier during the week to repay your sleep debt. Don’t let sleep debt accumulate – you will get chronically overtired.

I’ll be posting on sleep science, how to develop sleep habits, the benefits of sleep, and of course more photos of cute sleeping animals!!! Good luck and don’t forget to sign up for the blog so you don’t miss any posts on the Sleep Challenge!!

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