I talk about food a lot. Why? Because the food you choose to eat on a daily basis can make or break your health.But there are other factors involved in choosing health, and sleep may be the most important among them.
Sleep and I have always had a tenuous relationship. There were about ten years when I was a chronic insomniac. The toll on my health was devastating. I had to do a lot of work to get to the point where I could sleep - sometimes. As my sleep quality improved, so did my health. But there were still an annoying number of things that weren’t quite right. At the same time, I got to bed later than I should most nights, and it showed in my concentration and in the circles under my eyes.
Enter Shawn Stevenson, who is a health coach and sleep expert. He has a great podcast that I listen to regularly. And he’s written a book on sleep. I’m reading it and finding out a lot of new information. What I learned is that my lazy sleep habits have been affecting my health more than I suspected.
Shawn says in the Introduction, “The consequences of sleep deprivation aren’t pretty either. Try immune system failure, diabetes, cancer, obesity, depression, and memory loss, just to name a few. Most people don’t realize that their continuous sleep problems are also a catalyst for the diseases and appearance issues they’re experiencing. Studies have shown that just one night of sleep deprivation can make you as insulin resistant as a person with type 2 diabetes. This translates directly to aging faster, decreased libido, and storing more body fat than you want to (say it ain’t so!).”
Those few sentences alone have been a wakeup call for me. I’ve been sleeping for my entire life. You’d have thought I’d have gotten it right by now. Several years ago, I implemented some of the strategies that Shawn describes as I was attempting to overcome my insomnia. But much of the information in his book is new, cutting edge information. As I’m reading, I’m beginning to put into place better sleep practices. Most obviously, I’ve begun going to bed each night at a reasonable time.