Rest


This past week I’ve been fighting a bit of a cold, which is very rare for me now.  It hasn’t totally stopped me from doing what I love to do – I was able to play on Tuesday – but between that and the winter storm we got this week, I haven’t run for a week.  I was already feeling worn out on Monday, and it was cold.

What has really helped is trying to get enough rest.  I can’t stress enough that I am so much better rested now that I have made my change, and that I sleep more soundly and wake more refreshed, especially on nights after exercise.With this cold, I tried to get enough rest to stave it off – sometimes that works, as you can get a great nights rest and sleep it off.  I essentially did with this one, and it just attacked my horrible sinuses, clogging them for a week solid.  I’m going running later today, and that should clear them up – your body is resilient, and will work triple time to ensure that you have enough ability to breathe.

Sleep is dreadfully important.  with the net result being sleep deprivation – which can lead to diabetes, weight gain or weight loss, and cognitive impairment.  Getting enough sleep means you get through your day without feeling exhausted, without feeling drowsy when you drive, and without that constant feeling of needing a nap.  Plus, recent research has found that sleep can have a profound effect on memory.

How much is enough?

There is a great debate about how much sleep is enough.  I can tell you that I’m quite a night owl at  the best of times, but I also enjoy getting up early (a blessing and a curse) and I need at least 4-5 hours of sleep to properly function during a day.  (This is where anyone that knows me rolls their eyes and mentions my caffeine addiction).  Truly, I love my coffee, but I am able to function on about 5 hours quite well.  That’s function though, and it comes at a price. I am much better if I have 7 or so hours of sleep.

According to the article above, 5 hours seems to be important for memory and retention after learning.  Pay attention, all you sleep-deprived college kids.  There is an interesting chart here that shows that most adults actually need 7.5-9 hours of sleep per night.  That’s 10:30 pm to 6:00 am, and I know most people don’t get that.  if they did, late night talk shows would start at 9, and the late news would be on at 9:45.  So how many people are simply plodding sleepily through their lives?   In North America, quite a number I would think.

What about coffee?

Coffee is always such a beautiful joy to me that I consider it a fact of life – and many know  of my addiction to it.  I’m always impressed when I meet those folks that  don’t drink any caffeine at all – I’m so far the other way, that I know I have an addiction.  When reading this article, though, I put my mind at rest – the biggest issue that caffeine has is on your sleep.  So as long as I continue to get enough, it is inconclusive that coffee and caffeine are in fact bad for you – it is, after all, a mild stimulant.  So raise a cup and talk a little faster – there are others out here like you who will understand.

Relaxation

I’m not talking about kicking back and watching TV – I’m talking about deep, almost meditative relaxation.  One of the most startling things for me, when I’m tired, are those moments when I just can’t sleep.  Maybe I’ve tried for a nap and missed it, firing a shot over the bow.  Maybe it’s lying awake and watching the clock, then being amazed when you get up that you actually feel good.  Just simple rest – zoning out, downtime, staring abjectly into a corner – can really help to re-energize you and to revive you.  If you ever have the time, I encourage you to do it.  And you shut your brain off, too, which these days is like a precious commodity.

I can’t say enough about the health benefits of getting enough rest.  Now that my sleep is easier because I don’t have the problems with snoring that used to plague me, I notice that my sleep is also better, and I am more rested and more energized all the time.  Get enough sleep – if nothing else, sleep is a great reason to turn off the TV!

P.S. – I got curious while I was writing this one, and stumbled across this fantastic video of amazing cafe latte art.  Watch.  Want.

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