Wednesday, April 12, 2017

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Sleeping for Success Part 2

"Because today is another chance to get it right."  

Growing Healthy Kids’ focus is on solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic and sharing resources and research with parents is essential to our mission.  

Many parents never think about the role of sleep in relation to weight loss.  You know how grumpy and sleepy you are when you don't get enough sleep?  The fact is that getting a good night’s sleep does a body – and mind – good.  The quality – and quantity – of your sleep matters in many aspects of your health, especially if you want to get to a healthier weight as a positive role model for your children. 

Image result for sleeping kids

In Part 2 of Wellness Wednesdays’ "Sleeping for Success" this week, I answer the questions in Part 1.  Here we go:  

  1. Do you absolutely love your pillows?  If not, then it is time to go pillow shopping.  Are you sleeping on the same pillows you had 2 years ago?  Or maybe even 3 years ago?  Pillows do not last forever and should be replaced every 6-36 months, depending on the type. 
  2. Your bedroom should be a peaceful sanctuary, clear of clutter and electronics.  If it is not, then plan a day (or two) to organize drawers, sort through and discard clothes that no longer serve you, and do some deep cleaning and furniture rearranging so the energy in your room flows. 
  3. If you have electronics in your or your kids’ bedrooms, then move them out of the bedroom or, at the very least, turn them to minimize the light while you sleep.  Those innocuous red, blue, and yellow lights can interfere with your sleep by tricking your brain into thinking it is daytime.  The goal is to make your bedroom as dark as possible at night. 
  4. Charge your cell phone at least 10 feet away from your head (never next to your bed) and, preferably, in another room.   
  5. Establish regular bedtimes that you and your kids can adhere to, even on the weekends. 
  6. Stop drinking caffeinated beverages at least 6 hours before your bedtime.  Turn off computers, cell phones, and texting at least an hour before bedtime.  Keep chamomile tea on hand for a relaxing cup of tea to get you to sleep quickly.
  7. Turn off computers, videogames, and cell phones 30-60 minutes before bedtime.  This gives your mind and body time to wind down from the stress and adrenaline that electronics demand from us.
  8. If it takes you more than 20 minutes to get to sleep, then get up, move to another room, read a magazine or a book, and then try going back to sleep. 
  9. If you are sleeping less than 7 hours a night, you are probably not getting enough sleep.  Kids need more sleep than adults.  See chart (below) for hours of sleep needed by age.
  10. Do you sleep through the night or are you waking up one or more times?  If you are one of those people who wake up, only turn on the minimum number of lights needed to light your way to the bathroom so you can get right back to sleep.  The more lights you turn on, the harder it is to return to sleep.

Image result for sleeping teenagers pictures

Scientists know that when people do not get enough sleep, it is harder to lose weight.  If your goal is to get to a healthier weight, start by accessing your sleep patterns with my sleep survey (in "Sleeping for Success Part 1") and reviewing the solutions (listed above).

Ready, set, sleep!

With love and gratitude,
Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc