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The Importance Of Sleep

THE FINAL STRETCH

This is it, Challengers: We’re entering the final week of the TWC!

Did you wonder at the start if you’d be able to complete the challenge? It’s amazing how much you’ve learned and accomplished so far!

We hope you’re feeling great physically and mentally. Are you excited or a little disappointed that the TWC is almost over?

Perhaps there’s something you wanted to achieve that you haven’t yet. Were you hoping to have at least one perfect day? There’s still time!

Instead of giving up — if you haven’t done as well as you’d planned or posted your points every day — use this week to dig your heels in and prove to yourself that you can do anything you set your mind to!

The last day of the challenge is this Saturday, March 19th, so you’ll post your final scores on Sunday, the 20th by 5:00 pm.

Set your goals for this last week and go after them. Tell your family or our TWC community in your reflections so you’ll be accountable. Then you really WILL achieve your goals!

Final Lifestyle Challenge: Get At Least 7 Hours of Sleep

For the past three weeks we’ve been learning and practicing ways to get and stay healthy. This week we’re going to tackle one more important aspect of wellness.

Many of us take good care of our bodies but at the end of the day we often cheat ourselves on a good night’s sleep. Research shows that most adults function optimally after 7 – 8 hours of sleep per night. Unfortunately many of us fall short far too often.

Your goal this week is to turn the lights off at least 7 hours
before you plan to wake up in the morning.

By now we’re familiar with the benefits of sound sleep but let’s take a look at the detriments of cutting our sleep hours short.

Monica Reinagel shares some compelling reasons to hit the hay:

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1. Skimping on sleep increases stress hormones, which accelerates the aging process. I don’t know about you but I like the idea of slowing down my aging!
2. Under-sleeping increases insulin resistance, which is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.
3. Sleep deprivation affects hormones that regulate appetite, making you feel hungrier than you would if you were well rested.
4. If you’re losing weight, getting more sleep enhances fat loss, as opposed to lean tissue loss.

Follow These Suggestions For A Better Sleep

Set a 7-days-a-week schedule. “Regularity is vital—go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time naturally, including weekends,” says sleep expert James B. Maas, Ph.D., author of Sleep for Success!. A yo-yo schedule will give you symptoms similar to those of jet lag: daytime drowsiness, slow reaction time, impaired cognition, moodiness, lack of energy.” To know your personal sleep time, Maas suggests choosing a time that’s a minimum of eight hours before you need to wake up, and following it for one week straight. Still tired? That means you need an earlier bedtime (try just 15 to 30 minutes more). Once you can get up in the morning alarm-free and feel alert most of the day, you’ve hit it just right.

Cut caffeine after 2 p.m. Skip the temptation for that late afternoon java buzz. Your body is naturally winding down so while caffeine would definitely perk you up, it could linger long after you’ve left work: six hours later it’s still in your body.

Drop The Temperature. Overheating is a major sleep disruptor. Research shows that 65 degrees is the best temperature for a good night’s rest. So set your thermostat, choose a lighter blanket, crack the window or use a fan to help keep your sleep area cool.

Ditch your devices before bed. There are many downsides of scrolling through your social media before bed but the worst problem might be the light that is emitted from your screen. “Blue light hits the spectrum of day light—it’s an alerting mechanism,” says Maas. Translated: It wakes you up. Melatonin, the sleep hormone, is secreted when you’re in the dark, so light from your device could delay the onset of sleep. If you can’t cut the habit completely, at least dim the light on your devices until you can ease yourself off one hundred percent. Charles H. Samuels, M.D. believes the more important issue is the inner activity and interaction our devices cause. So avoid the screen at least an hour before bed.

Combine light stretching with breathing exercises to activate the parasympathetic system which aids in relaxing and calming your body.” —Cheri Mah, a sleep and athletic performance research scientist.

Sweet Dreams!

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