Weekly Ponderings #34: Why You Need to Obsess Over Your Sleep
Happy Memorial Day! Started off this morning supporting my husband while he did The Murph Challenge by doing some squats while I watched Netflix. That's basically the same as running 2 miles, doing 100 pullups, 200 pushups, and 300 squats, all with a 20 lb weighted vest...right?
I've been really focused on my sleep recently. I've had a lifelong struggle with a messed up circadian rhythm where I stay up late and wake up late, and am tired no matter how many hours I sleep. It's actually what made me first get interested in functional medicine and integrative health (realizing feeling tired every day wasn't normal).
No matter how many times my mom told me to go to sleep early, it took me almost 30 years to really internalize how freaking important sleep is for your health. Here are just a few reasons:
1. It's when your body repairs at its deepest level. Stress breaks your body down, and sleep repairs and builds it back up.
2. Not sleeping enough messes with your hunger hormones, blood sugar and metabolism -- aka it can make you gain weight.
3. Lack of sleep adds stress and inflammation to your body, which are known to lead to a bunch of other health issues. 90%+ of all dis-ease in the body is related to stress and inflammation.
There are a bunch of recommended things you can do to make sure you're getting enough good quality sleep every night (check out this blog post for some tips). They're mostly lifestyle changes that are FREE.
However, here are some new things I implemented last week that cost $ that I hope will have an impact:
1. Switched to a red light bulb in my bedroom ($11). You've probably heard about how blue light isn't great in the evening because it messes with your natural circadian rhythm and melatonin production (your sleep hormone). If not, check out my blog post here about blue light and ways to protect yourself from it. We just bought a red light bulb for our one bedroom lamp to use if we're reading in bed before we sleep. Red light is supposed to be ideal for evenings because it has a low color temperature, and it doesn't mess with your internal clock like blue light does. We don't have any other electronics in our bedroom except our kindles.
2. Added a blackout curtain in my bedroom ($34). We did a pretty hacky job installing it, which involved taping one of the sides down (literally with packaging tape), but hey, it works! The only thing I'm worried about now is I'll never wake up. One of my next investments will likely be a wakeup light.
3. Bought an Oura Ring ($299). Not sure if it's worth the hype or the $$, but we shall see. There are mixed reviews on it, but functional medicine Dr. Mark Hyman recommended it and I trust him, so figured I'd give it a try. The ring estimates your light, deep, and REM sleep throughout the night, when you're awake, as well as your resting heart rate and heart rate variability. According to the data, I'm not getting enough REM sleep, which doesn't surprise me given how I feel when I wake up every morning. I'm going to make some more lifestyle changes and continue to monitor the data to see if there's an impact.
Will report back to see if I feel a difference in a few weeks (and if the data shows anything).
Hope you all had a relaxing long weekend and have a wonderful week!
Get to bed early if you can. 😊