Counting Sleep

counting sheepThis from Jenn: Is sleep overrated?

Jenn, Jenn. I don’t pull out my soap box often, but I must tell you, sleep is most definitely NOT overrated. If anything, it is underrated!

Consider the following:

-Too little sleep messes with your blood sugar and makes you hungrier (making you eat more, making the scale tip, making the clothes tight…)

-Poor sleep patterns can contribute toward high blood pressure.

-Insufficient sleep depresses your immune system.

Sleep deprivation can lead to slower reaction, irritability, and depression, so, no matter how much you’re improving your Wii bowling scores with your late night marathon sessions, you’re going to be a real drag to be around.

It’s not easy, but take it from this recovering insomniac, there’s sleep to be had, as long as you get disciplined about it. I’ve collected tips for sleep for a long time, and here are my personal favorites:

1. Cut out the caffeine. Or cut back. Or something! Caffeine may perk you up, but it’s also putting you behind the sleep 8-ball, especially the closer to bedtime you have it.

2. Exercise. It’ll tire you out, it’s good for you, and you’ll wear it well. I find that it even tends to cheer me up. All good things.

3. Set a bed time and stick to it. Mine is 10:30 pm. Sometimes 11, but during the school year it’s a strict 10:30. Before that and I’m up at 3. After that, and I wake up with horns and a tail.

4. I’ve never sought physician approval on this one, so don’t take my word for it, but if you need something to break the cycle of no sleep try a dose of Benadryl. Or Nyquil–that’s a guaranteed good night’s sleep. But listen, only in desperate circumstances, OK? Maybe once every couple of months…and only one dose. We’re not talking fiendish consumption here. Please.

In the interest of equal (or not so equal) treatment, there is some evidence that suggests too much sleep is also problematic. There’s not much about it at this link, but it’s worth thinking about…not that many of us are sleeping our days away.

For more on the subject, check out this piece from the Washington Post.

Happy napping!


  1. Andie said,

    July 13, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Diabetes newsletters live on!!!

    • scheirmad said,

      July 13, 2009 at 2:35 pm

      Ain’t that the truth? Have you made any life changes because of things that you’ve researched?

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