Day 43 ~ 177 Days of Unexpected Health Project

Good Night = Good Health

I have always loved getting my zzz’s. I’ve never been one to sleep in really late (if I sleep in until 8:30am I am really excited), but I do require 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night…that is, for optimal functioning. And my sleeping hours have always been significant as well, but that goes for most people. I do best when I go to sleep around 10pm or 11pm, and wake up between 6:30am and 7am. But today, as my alarm clock echoed through the silence of my bedroom at a nearly-middle-of-the-night time of 4:30am, I quickly realized the Unexpected Health that results with “normal” sleep.

Now of course, there are lots of known health benefits from counting sheep at a relatively early time in the night (let’s just say, before 11:30pm): greater probability of falling into REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement…deep sleep); greater chance of maintaining an optimal circadian rhythm; much stronger chance of waking up on the RIGHT side of the bed in the morning. But the unexpected health knowledge gained from a proper night’s sleep is that sleep between the hours of 10pm and 7am creates warmth, and feeling warmth both physically and emotionally is healthy.

Have you ever noticed when you are abnormally tired that your body literally feels cold? I notice that not only are my extremities cold, but my mind feels a little cooler as well. When we are sleep-deprived, the world looks a little bleaker; a little darker; a little colder. I find that everything inside me functions a little less healthfully when I am overly tired. I can overreact, under-understand, and am quicker to anger to slower to forgive…all from a little lack of sleepy time.

Of course, there are times that we are not going to get adequate sleep (having children comes to mind), and there is nothing we can do about that except adapt. But whenever possible, make sleep between optimal hours a priority. The world will look a lot brighter and feel a lot warmer when you do. -Until tomorrow, Jaime

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