by Cathy Clements, Nutritionist & Life Coach, NASM CNC, CPT, FNS, WFS
Welcome to March. It is amazing how quickly time flies — whether it is months, years or just a day.
I hear a lot of people say: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” or “I have too much to do to sleep.” I used to be one of those people.
I can attest that I was able in my 20s and 30s to go out almost all night, get a couple hours of sleep and go to work, and I was still able to function for the day.
Then in my 30s I had kids and was happy to get three hours of sleep with little babies and think I had slept all night. I was refreshed and ready to go.
Then in my 40s, I had work that sometimes kept me up and busy for over a 24-hour period. Toward the end of the time being awake, I was noticeably stumbling over words and usually had
a headache. I would get home and crash, sleeping very soundly all night.
But also in my 40s I realized that I was gaining weight and having a harder time losing
it. As we age, our hormone levels in our bodies change. This happens for men and
women. Our bodies don’t adjust as quickly as they used to, and we need more sleep.
The more correct statement, though, is that we don’t need more sleep, we need the same amount we always did, between seven and nine hours.
We consistently need sleep to allow our bodies to rest, to recover for strenuous exercise or to recover from a cold. More importantly we need to allow our bodies to dream and go into that very deep REM sleep that allows us to dream and figure out difficult tasks.
Studies are showing that individuals who only sleep three to five hours a night have died with early onset Alzheimer’s; Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan to name two.
Although many aspire to be like these individuals, we shouldn’t aspire to have their sleep patterns. Good, restful sleep helps our minds and bodies recover and prepare for another day.
Eating a healthy diet and decreasing alcohol consumption will give us a better opportunity to have a healthy restful night.