Monday, March 3, 2014

Weekly Health Goal: Sleep

This is going to be pretty picture heavy- but that is ok; pictures are fun!! When I started putting this post together I was looking through various websites and reading different facts and studies about how sleep is good for your health and well being and whatnot- and it was all very interesting BUT- I started to zone out while reading it.

Backing up a little bit- why am I reading about sleep and its effects on health? Lately I've been suffering from dizzy spells, feeling really exhausted in general, having trouble focusing, crying a lot (more than usual) and having super issues with depression.  So tonight when I sat down to write my blog post I pondered these things and this is what I came up with:

(cannot find original artist- but it's pretty cute)
Of course I'm the mother of a nearly 2 year old and a 4 year old- thankfully they are that old; but unfortunately they are still not sleeping through the night. Which stinks.  It also brought to mind some funny memes:

And then of course I thought about my son and his hatred of naps- and of course there are more memes for that:

Well- humor and joking aside as I was reading I learned some new things and remembered some old things.  My brother Brian is a psychology major and sometimes he likes to tell us (lovingly of course) about the effects of sleep and stress on our bodies- I found this graphic here that sums up pretty well the things I found in my research:

Seriously- it is kinda scary the things that can happen to you if you don't sleep!! SO I began wondering about myself- and charted out an IDEAL week for me (one where I got in all of my homework and hung out with my family and whatnot) here is the chart that details what that week looks like for me:


Honestly this didn't look to bad to me- 17% of my week spent sleeping sounded pretty good (it is the brown slice of pie- the yellow slice is homework).  Except for one thing- that 17% meant I was only sleeping for 4 hours a night.  (I refer you back to my earlier set of symptoms that have been bothering me) 

So I adjusted my week with the appropriate amount of sleep:

As you can see categories suffered.  Sleeping 8 hours a night meant that 30% of my week would be spent sleeping.  I had to take so much time away from important things (though I tried to leave homework alone) I wonder if it is worth it to sleep?

So I continued looking up information about sleep... and found more graphics!

This one is very straight forward and simple.  I found it interesting because weight gain has been a severe problem for me over the past few years.  (source of graphic) It makes sense that sleep is something that refuels our bodies and when we deprive our bodies of that essential function then we have to re-fuel somehow.  What are we drawn to? Quick forms of energy- and those are generally unhealthy.  Go Figure.

But WAIT! There's more!

(source for this image)  This one REALLY hit home for me- not just the weight gain/fat storage information- I'd heard that before and obviously it hasn't been enough of a motivator for me to start making sleep a priority.  It was the effects on our brain.  I knew that not getting enough sleep could may you have a more difficult time paying attention- but I didn't know it actually could hurt your brain.  My entire life is based around being creative- it is quite literally my job to be creative.  If I'm causing that part of my brain to break down then I need to change something.  Fast.

The good news is there are ways to fix this problem.  A continuation from the Sleep or Die graphic:

BASICALLY- sleep is good for everyone.

The gist of this incredibly long entry?  I need more sleep and probably you do as well.  SO my goal this week is to sleep at least 7 hours a night every night.  I even made another chart:

I've re-adjusted time spent in all of my activities making sleep a priority- also lowered my homework time a little bit- hopefully getting the sleep I need will make it so I can be more productive at my homework.

I'm sure most of you are pro-sleepers and didn't need all of this information- but I sure did!! At the very least I hope you enjoyed the memes.  And to all you young mothers out there with little babies who don't sleep- sleep when you can- you really will be able to catch up on it as they get older.  (I just have an abnormally busy life- so don't look at my sleep deprivation as the norm... even without kids I'd be having trouble)

With that- I'm going to bed.

More resources:

What is sleep/effects of not sleeping
Harvard Healthy Sleep Site
WebMD "10 Things to Hate About Sleep Loss" (lots of info there- all articles on the left column are sleep related)
WebMD "Sleep Disorders Health Center" (it is what it says it is)
 Obesity and Sleep article
Sleep- More Than a Luxury, Important for Health (linked earlier in post)

Tips to sleep better (some of these repeat)
7 Hidden Ways to get Better Sleep
How to Sleep Better


This website has a more PG-13 title- but the graphic is clever- link to site "Sleep is Awesome"; link to rest of graphic: "Sleep is Awesome- graphic" (it is an interesting graphic- but for whatever reason it is very centered on being more sexy- in every way the word is used- so reader beware)

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