Ask most anyone and they will tell you sleep is an integral part to a healthy life. A good night sleep is key to a productive day, to an energetic body and to weight loss. Most claim that eight hours is the ideal.
I can personally count the number of times I have managed to get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep in my life on one hand and still have at least one finger left over, possibly two.
I remember them because all of those nights come with a story. It usually involves some event or situation that kept me up for three days straight just prior. The eight hours of sleep was usually my reward in collapse.
Insomnia is something that is in my family. Growing up my father and I had a nightly gin rummy game we played more or less continuously from about the time I turned seven until I graduated high school. Growing up he did the same with his father while the rest of the house slept.
Theoretically the math of the score keeping and the slow and steady nature of the game is supposed to lull you into a sleepy state. In case you were wondering.
Some nights it worked.
I’ve tried sleeping pills in the past, but while many steer clear because of the risk of dependency, I steer clear for a different reason.
Sleeping pills make me sleep walk.
But sleep is important to me, just as it is for everyone else. Over the years I’ve found that my body does not want eight hours of sleep. I seem to function best with about five. With five hours I feel energized and ready to tackle my workouts. With less I feel groggy and unmotivated. I very rarely get more but if I manage it, I feel groggy and out of sorts all day. So I stick with the five as a goal.
Letting go of the need for the required eight helped me feel better about not getting it.
I’ve also found two things that really help.
The first is a sleep mask. I prefer a silk sleep mask actually. I know that sounds really strange and really too simple to be true, but it is the most effective way for me to sleep.While we live in a quiet neighborhood, there are street lights, there are neighbors with schedules different from my own and many other factors I can’t control.
People in my neighborhood are for the most part respectful. If roaming at night they tend to be as quiet as they can be while going about their business. If that business involves heavy construction, they at least try to warn you ahead of time.
But moving around in the night requires lights. Headlights that flash through windows or cause the shadows in the room to dance around. It took me a while to realize it is not the increased light level that was causing me to startle from sleep, it was the change in the light level.
No matter how quiet they were, the light level in our bedroom shifted with every movement outside whether human or natural and I would wake up. We have a lot of trees in our neighborhood and when the wind kicks up they dance and sway in front of the streetlights and are just as bad as people for waking me up.
My sleep mask doesn’t block out all light so I can sleep in a dark cave, it keeps me from noticing the various changes in the light throughout the night. That more than anything else helps me to sleep more deeply and more consistently.
My second tool for getting my necessary sleep involves the Olly Sleep Gummies. I really don’t like talking about ingestibles because anyone dealing with weight issues (myself included) are often bombarded with wonder drugs. Plus everyone has their own thoughts about what they put into their bodies. While we each have our own personal rules, I really find this useful. This is not a wonder drug but it is helpful, secondary to the sleep mask, but still helpful enough to pass along to those struggling with sleep in the hopes it will do others good.
These gummies don’t actually work like sleeping pills. They don’t send you to sleep. They sort of relax you. They are the gummie equivalent of sleepy time tea. Which incidentally does work as well, but sends me to the bathroom in the middle of the night if I drink it before bed. I find if I take the two recommended gummies and then sit in bed quietly reading until they take effect, the combination of the low energy activity and the gummies help me drift off more easily.
Many experts of various stripes agree that a good night’s sleep is key to a lot of healthy things in a person’s life, weight loss among them. For those out there who, like me, struggle with getting that sleep, I hope this tip proves useful to you.
Just remember to choose your bedtime reading wisely if you are using it to help with sleep. I tend to go with non-fiction and hope it improves my mind as well as sends me to sleep. Lately I’ve been working through a History of the Silk road. It is anything but boring, even if the academic text is a little dry and has given me the most interesting dreams.
For anyone interested, below I’m posting a link to one of my favorite places to pick up my sleep masks: Whisper Silk. I find they stay in place and don’t press down in uncomfortable ways on my face while I sleep. I also really like the silk. It turns necessity into a luxury, and the wrapped bands keep elastic from tangling in my hair. They also have a thirty day money back guarantee.