We all know how amazing great sleep is. There is nothing better than waking up feeling fully rested, awake, in a good mood, and ready to take on the day. When is the last time you had a day like that? Admit it – it has been too long.
We also all know just how awful it is not to get a good night’s sleep. It can leave you feeling groggy, depressed, grouchy, and even excessively hungry. Sometimes you can’t shake that heavy, foggy feeling all day – so your day is basically ruined.
The scary truth is that chronic poor sleep is not something to ignore. It can lead to a host of serious health conditions:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Depression and anxiety
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Heart attacks
- Immune system suppression & dysfunction
- Digestive problems
- Accidents (including deadly ones)
- And more
The harsh truth that doctors and scientists agree on is this: you cannot enjoy fully vibrant health if you are ignoring your sleep habits and quality.
In fact, if you regularly suffer from sleep deprivation you could be sabotaging efforts made in other areas of your life to improve your health and happiness. That perfect, nutrient dense diet may not matter if you are only getting 4 hours of fitful sleep every night.
Each of us needs to sleep well every night, regularly, in order for us to have good health. That’s why I think that prioritizing sleep is the ultimate self-care act – it sets the stage for you to be able to feel happier, be healthier, and enjoy life.
How to prioritize sleep
I know how hard it can be, especially if you are a mom, to feel like you have the right to prioritize your sleep. But listen: how good of a mom can you be if you are depressed, fatigued, and cranky? Some of the best advice I have ever gotten is that it is critical for me to take care of ME first and foremost so that I can do a good job taking care of my family.
To start, set the intention that you will make sleep your #1 health priority. Yes, I think it is more important than a rigid diet template (except, of course, for foods you are truly allergic or intolerant to). If you write in a journal, write about it! That always helps me to turn an idea into action, especially when it is something that is just for me.
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Once you set the intention, you have to hold yourself accountable. If you live with someone else, tell them that you have realized that you need to get more sleep and let them know that you are going to be protective of your sleep time. Not only will this help them to support you, but it can also to help you stay accountable.
Finally, you have to follow through. The simplest thing is to set a non-negotiable bedtime that is 7-9 hours before you need to be awake in the morning. Add 30-60 minutes to that for “winding down” time where you can practice other forms of self-care, like listening to soothing music, reading, soaking your feet, or coloring.
Speaking of coloring…I am so excited to share with you this incredible new resource by my friend Kelly at A Girl Worth Saving—The Sleep Miracle: a coloring eBook and Guide to Sleeping Well Every Single Night.
She lays it all down for you and teaches you everything you need to know about sleep, helps you identify hidden root causes of insomnia, gives you the info you need to know about supplements, and then teaches you how to hack your circadian rhythms, reset your internal clock, create a nourishing self-care bedtime routine, turn your bedroom into an oasis, and manage your stress with coloring before bed.
You will feel empowered and excited to make sleep your #1 health and self-care priority once you read The Sleep Miracle. Get your copy today! I cannot recommend it enough.
Elizabeth Resnick says
Sleep is definitely something that needs to be more of a priority for me. With a part time job, a growing blog and two teenagers it is really tough. I am in great shape with all of my other self care. Thanks for the reminder about sleep!
Michelle Henry says
I really think that people are not aware of all the consequences of sleep deprivation! It really is a vast list and as our society gets more and more busy it’s only getting worse. Great article!