A guy at work once asked me, "What do you do at 4:30 in the morning?"
I responded, "Pretty much the same stuff that you do at 11PM?"
"Oh," he says, "Watch SNL re-runs and eat leftover Chinese food!"
Okay, maybe not!
People are different. Some are night owls and some prefer mornings. I'm a morning person--always have been. I never even had a curfew growing up. My mother joked that it didn't much matter because, regardless of where I was, come 10PM she could safely wager I was sound asleep.
I find the early morning hours are the most peaceful time of the day. I like to use that quiet space to read, write, meditate, set goals, review action plans, ponder corrective processes, and reflect. My natural sleeping pattern provides for a clean and consistent 8 hours of sleep. As such, I'm fortunate to have have never used an alarm in my life. I can think of few things more irritating than being jerked from peaceful rest by the blaring noise of bells, buzzers, or music.
While it's a known fact that the body benefits from eight hours of restful sleep, the importance of sleep is often overlooked as a key component of health. Studies show that when people get less than 6 to 7 hours of sleep nightly, they are at greater risk of heart disease and stroke as well as stress, depression, and obesity.
During sleep, the body is hard at work repairing damage caused by stress, ultraviolet rays, and other harmful exposure. Sleep reduces stress and inflammation. It improves memory, cognitive function, mood, and energy levels.
Sufficient sleep is critical to weight loss and weight management. Studies show that those who sleep fewer than 7 hours a night are more likely to be overweight. The sleep deficit creates hormonal imbalance between Ghrelin and Leptin which regulate appetite. Ghrelin goes into overdrive shouting "HUNGER, HUNGER!" Leptin is suppressed so it's "I'm full" signal doesn't reach the brain. This prompts excessive calorie consumption.
Tips for Better Sleep
Keep to a consistent schedule of sleep and wake times.
Get physical activity and sunlight during the day.
Reduce naps, caffeine, and alcohol intake.
Shut off the blue screens and begin to relax an hour before bed.
Optimize your bedroom for sleep.
Implement relaxation aids like block-breathing, herbal teas, and golden milk
2.5 c. coconut milk
1.5 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbs coconut oil
pinch of black pepper
1 tsp raw honey (optional)
Heat all ingredients (except honey) in a saucepan. Serve hot with a honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon if desired.
4-7-8 Breathing Technique
Exhale through the mouth.
Inhale quietly through your nose.
Hold your breath for 7.
Exhale through the mouth for 8.
Repeat the cycle 4 times.