(Quick Summary of my previous blog: Health & Beauty Sleep)
Research shows a connection between poor sleep habits to obesity, diabetes and hypertension. Without proper sleep, the natural production of a growth hormone linked to obesity decreases while our weight increases, our blood pressure's normal decline is interrupted, leading to hypertension and cardiovascular problems and insufficient sleep impairs the body's ability to use insulin, which can lead to the onset of diabetes.
Suggestions: Keep a regular bedtime and wake time, even on the weekends. Avoid exposure to bright lights and arousing activities, paying bills, competitive games or family problem-solving before bedtime, lower the lights and take part in a relaxing activity before bedtime.
Resetting Our Circadian Clock
We all have a "Circadian Clock" or a sleep clock that regulates our sleep cycle, balancing our mind and body, our sleep time and wake time. When our routine 7-9 hour sleep cycle is interrupted for an extended period of time, it throws off our clock and makes it difficult to fall asleep with ease. I did some research and found a surprisingly simple method to reset my "Circadian Clock".
"The early bird catches the worm"
Set your alarm to get up at the first crack of dawn, go outside, sit quietly on a lawn chair and listen for the first birds to chirp and watch the sunrise.
After a couple of days, this has become very enjoyable to me to go outside and quietly listen to the birds and drink a hot cup of green tea.
I popped up out of bed the second morning anxious to hear the first bird and I broke out in a Cat Steven's song, "Morning has broken like the first morning. Blackbirds have spoken, like the first day..."
It rained this morning but I still woke up at the same time. My next step is to start exercising in the morning instead of late in the evening after work.
"Relax & Pamper Myself"
Now, I also need to work on going to bed on time in the evening. The best advice I found is to set a specific time to log off my computer and treat myself to a relaxing spa like bath.
I am currently redecorating my bathroom to look more like a spa. I bought some new towels, shower curtain, floor rugs, matching toilet seat, candles and potpourie.
All of this sounds great, the relaxation and spa like experience but my real challenge is to turn off the computer.