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Lori is a Nurse Practitioner, Board Certified Health Coach & Creation Coach who specializes in getting to the root cause of your symptoms

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Editor’s Note – New Website / Domain name – Due to my recent divorce, my branding will be Lori Finlay. PLEASE keep your eyes out to accept Lori@LoriFinlay.com as my new address to receive emails. My new website will be launched in early 2023 after I get situated in my new place.

We’re two weeks into the busiest season of the year. The celebrations are wonderful, yet has your sleep deprivation already begun? If you’re like many in the western world, budgets get stretched trying to buy the right gift, schedules get stuffed, and bodies seem stretched and pushed to their limits too. This week I will share a few tips to support you so you can Spark Joy without starting the New Year so far in sleep debt. 

If you are one of my regular readers, you know I am a big proponent of having regular evening and morning routines and rituals to optimize vitality. During the busy holiday season, I get that we are all trying to fit in way more. Thus, using a “floor” version of your habits may be needed.

However, I think it’s important to really get a clear reminder of the short and long-term impact of sleep deprivation and send a plea to give yourself the gift of self-care this season.

Below are some highlights from a previous blog post that I feel are important to remind all of us, myself included, during this hectic time of year.

So Much to Do, So Little Sleep

The National Sleep Foundation survey found that 60 percent of the women polled said they only get a good night’s sleep a few nights a week — or less. And 43 percent said daytime sleepiness interferes with their daily activities.

Sleeping less than seven hours a night is associated with a higher body mass index (a ratio of weight to height) / higher body fat percentage, and a higher likelihood of obesity, according to a study of more than 25,000 people published in the journal Sleep.

The health risks aren’t limited to weight gain. For fun, I did a google search, and >95,000 hits came up regarding sleep disturbance and its impact on health! Sleeping challenges significantly impact your Endocrine system, creating an imbalance in many hormones, including cortisol levels, impacting your adrenal glands and your sex hormones. Sleep deprivation is the root cause of many health challenges. 

  • Insufficient sleep has been linked to diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease (stemming from weight gain). Yet it does not stop there!! 
  • An estimated 1,500 fatalities and 71,000 injuries from motor vehicle accidents on US roads yearly result from drowsy driving. 
  • Sleep deprivation costs Americans more than $100 billion annually in lost productivity, medical expenses, sick leave, and property damage. 

Doing things differently – only things that Spark Joy!

As I’ve been packing my belongings to move into my new apartment, I’ve hired a KonMari Consultant. Have you heard of Marie Kondo and her principles of “Sparking Joy”? It’s simple – she suggests you look at, even touch, everything to see if it still sparks Joy. If it doesn’t, gift it to someone else who may enjoy it. Now that may be Goodwill, but it may also be a friend who is delighted in some clothing or household items you no longer treasure. It’s been wonderful to gift things and see the Spark of Joy that others have as they walk away with their new treasures.

What if we took this approach with our holiday schedules? What IF we carefully evaluated the regular routines of this season? Do they still spark Joy with you and your loved ones? Are you really enjoying the season, or so stretched that you cannot seem to be present with the ones you love? Or are you so sleep-deprived that you’re cranky, upset, unwell, and off-balance? Perhaps it’s time to take inventory with the ones you love, see their favorite activities, and trim your stuffed schedule. What IF you skipped a party and stayed home to enjoy quiet time with your loved ones? What IF you chose to do a simple e-card this year instead of the long hours of addressing individual cards? What IF you let go of some gift-giving and gave loving words instead? What IF you gave yourself the gift of a short restorative nap? What IF you and your loved ones did an inventory of what Sparks Joy and what are the most important traditions to continue?

I bet you can think of a few things you could shift to create a few more minutes of peace, rest and, yes, sleep. Here’s a quick refresher on some basic sleep hygiene  (that’s really what it’s called) that I shared in my previous post

  • Exercise regularly. It’s best to complete a workout at least a few hours before bedtime. 
  • Finish eating at least two to three hours before bedtime. 
  • Avoid caffeine after 6 pm.
  • Maintain a regular bed and waketime schedule, including weekends and holidays 
    • Your most restorative sleep (the best health benefits) is between 9 pm and midnight. So…work on getting to bed earlier! 
    • This Chronotype test, developed by Dr. Michael Breus, may help you target the best sleep hours for you.
  • Create a sleep-conducive environment that’s dark, quiet, comfortable, and cool. 
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow. 
  • ONLY use your bed for two things–sleep and sex.
    • Things such as TV and reading books are best done in a chair or other rooms.

Now, I know that as women, with our creative capacities, we are often the ones creating all the fun and magic. I hope this little refresher helps keep you mindful of how you can gift yourself vitality during this exciting, joyous time of year. Sweet Dreams, perhaps even with sugar plums or dancing bears😉

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