If you’re starting a 30 day challenge (it’s not too late to start – we won’t tell if you missed day one!) or have made one of those New Year’s resolutions that demands more of your body or mind than you’re accustomed to giving, we have a recommendation to help you out.
Sleep: Mother Nature’s health plan!
As a teen, I had horrible insomnia which continued regularity into my early 20’s. I’m sure it had to do with the crazy schedule, poor eating habits and, in my later teens, intake of Mountain Dew (one of the highest caffeinated soda’s on the market before all these energy drinks were even around). Having not developed an effective sleep habit in my early years, my career did nothing to encourage it after college.
Several years ago I was reading about weight loss and one of the things that I discovered is that the amount of sleep you get is linked to weight loss. Apparently, there’s a big difference between 5-6 hours a night and 8-9. I read this article about how the body begins to burn fat in your sleep between the 6-8 hour mark of your sleep cycle and sleeping more actually helps you lose more weight. (I remember the average recommendation for weight loss being a minimum of 7 hours of sleep.) It seemed counterintuitive because I thought that being awake would burn more calories and yet I continue to find more and more studies and literature to support that premise.
After reading that, I began considering sleep more seriously. I found several articles on the topic and it seems like that extra 14-28 hours a week of sleep are actually quite substantial in terms of body repair. I read the average person sleeps under 6 hours a night and they recommended 7.5 – 9 or something like that. 9 hours! That’s so much time, right? It seemed that way to me at least. At first. Now I know when I get that much I will wake up in a better mood and get more done.
Now for all you parents out there, you are likely not afforded the luxury of down time you deserve because you’re devoted to your little ones. But if there were one new year’s resolution you could make that would help support you and subsequently your ability to support your child, it would be committing to 8 hours of sleep a night.
Meanwhile, how does this all relate to your practice? According to this article, more sleep will improve your memory, curb inflammation, spur creativity, improve performance, sharpen attention and other benefits not necessarily related to your practice.
Whose practice wouldn’t benefit from these things? 🙂
Here’s to getting more sleep in 2014! May you have a happy, healthy and safe new year and may the best of last year be the worst of this year and may you say that all your many years to come.
Written by Temple of Poi founder and visionary, GlitterGirl, who has been a full time flow arts coach and instructor since 2002. If you seek professional guidance associated with creating a safe performance, obtaining a permit in San Francisco or other personalized coaching, contact GlitterGirl directly for a free consultation (GlitterGirl <that pretty little at symbol> TempleOfPoi <daaaaaaaught> com).