Want to get healthy? Take a nap.

Want to get Healthy?  Take a Nap! 

Naps are important! How often do you hear someone say, “I had a great night’s sleep last night!” or “I feel refreshed and energetic!”?  Probably not very often.  Feeling sluggish seems to be the new normal.  In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, it is the new normal:  most Americans are sleep-deprived.  But not getting enough sleep may be causing more trouble for you than just that pesky drowsy feeling:  it could be seriously harming your health.

Why aren’t we sleeping? 

Centuries ago, it was common for people to sleep 8 to 9 hours each day.  But now, only about 25% of Americans get 8 or more sleep.  The reasons we are not sleeping are many.  We live in a 24/7 society—practically anything we want to do is available around the clock, from fitness centers to pharmacies to department stores.

We are working long hours, transporting our kids to activities, trying to make time for friends, and, fitness, and entertainment.  When the heat is on, the first thing to go is usually sleep.  And it’s usually not even a conscious decision to skimp on sleep-we get in bed a little later most nights because we are so pressed and pushed.

But even when we get into bed, we aren’t guaranteed sleep.  The National Sleep Foundation reports that 60% of Americans have sleep problems.  That means more than half of us to struggle to sleep.  And it is taking its toll. It will through off your morning routine and begin your day stressful among other things. Check out my post on “Morning routine to reduce your stress”

Dangers of sleep deprivation 

“The foundations of good health are good diet, good exercise, and good sleep, but two out of three doesn’t get you there,”1  — Dr. Anne Calhoun, neurology professor, University of North Carolina.

Eating healthily and getting plenty of exercise is not enough to compensate for the danger that sleep deprivation poses to your health.  Adults need around 8 hours of sleep each night, although some studies indicate that as little as seven and one-half hours can be sufficient.  Getting less than that can have serious consequences:

  • Risk of Cardiovascular Disease:  If you get less than 6 hours of sleep each night and have disturbed sleep, you have a 48% greater risk of developing or dying from heart disease and a 15% greater risk of developing or dying from a stroke.2  Lack of sleep can cause high blood pressure, blocked arteries, stroke, kidney disease, and dementia.
  • Obesity: Sleep shortage is directly linked to obesity.  When you don’t get enough sleep, two powerful hormones that control hunger are disrupted.  The result is that you feel hungrier and have fewer sensations of feeling “full.”   But without enough sleep, you will also feel more stressed, which encourages the production of the hormone cortisol in your body.  This hormone causes you to crave high-carbohydrate foods such as potato chips and brownies and then deposits those carbs as fat around your belly—the most dangerous place to store fat. Pre-diabetes is also a risk for those who don’t get enough sleep. Check out my post on “How to manage prediabetes naturally.”  Trying to get by on less than 6 hours of sleep per night can cause impaired glucose tolerance.
  • Compromised immune system:  Why can two people be exposed to the same germs, but only one of them gets sick?  The reason is the immune system.  You can ward off many illnesses if your immune system is functioning well.  But if something happens to compromise your immune response, you will be vulnerable to infections, bacteria, viruses, and even some autoimmune diseases such as arthritis and asthma.  Your immune system becomes stressed and compromised when you do not get enough sleep.  You have a decrease in white blood cells, and those that remain are less active.  The result is that you will get sick more often.
  • Impaired exercise performance:  As if the threat of heart disease, obesity, and immune suppression weren’t enough, lack of sleep can negatively impact your fitness efforts.  It’s not uncommon for people to struggle to maintain their average workout intensity when they are sleep deprived.  You won’t have the energy to push through.  Also, your muscles repair and rebuild while you sleep:  if you don’t allow your body this recovery time, you will be at a significant disadvantage during your next workout.

Adding rest has many benefits, and it comes in many forms:

If you are anticipating a stress-filled week, you know; the fast-paced, get-it-done-now, never-take-a-break, harder-faster-longer; more is better, not better is better mindset. Then, you are working your way toward a future problem. Stress causes havoc with your hormones and can lead to metabolic issues and damage.

As you plan for your week, take time to rest:

Some Rest-Based Living Recommendations

  • Connect with people you love, whether it’s laughter, companionship, or even sex.
  • Take hot baths or long showers. Water therapy can help reduce stress.
  • Relaxation- get enough sleep, sacrifice that shows you can record and watch tomorrow. Or put the phone down at a curfew and get some rest. Your body will thank you in so many ways.
  • Also, massages are my favorite way to relax.
  • Biblical mediation also has been so helpful to my peace of mind lately. You can find breath prayers and guided Biblical Meditations in the FaithFueled Life App.
  • Movement-walk, stretch, or breathing exercises. I have 10-35 minute recovery exercises and breath prayers in the FaithFueledLife App. All movement does not require high intensity and is good for your body. Just add moments of renewal of your Spirit, rest, and recovery to your schedule this week! Show some love if you’re into resting 😉

Make time for sleep 

The truth is, if you don’t make time now for adequate sleep, you will likely be forced in the future to make time for illness.  It may take significant effort to arrange your schedule and priorities to carve out time for more sleep, but the payoff will be increased health, energy and productivity!

Ready for a nap?

Live your blessed life,

De Bolton, Your FaithFueled™ Mom



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