‘I need less sleep because I’m older. I can catch up on sleep later. I only need four hours sleep.’ If these thoughts have crossed your mind, think again.


We all know by now that getting quality sleep is essential to a happy and healthy life.

But the stats still show more than half of adult Americans are suffering from at least one chronic sleep symptom, affecting our productivity, mood and general health and well-being.

2019 report, commissioned by the Sleep Health Foundation, found almost 60 per cent of us regularly experience at least one sleep symptom (like trouble falling asleep) and 14.8 per cent of us have symptoms which could result in being diagnosed with clinical insomnia.

On top of that, there are all those persistent sleep myths that confuse and complicate things even further.


We thought it time to debunk some of the more common ones, to help improve the quality of your all-important nocturnal hours. You’re welcome.


1. I need less sleep because I’m older

Sure, you have more to do now you’re a grown-up, so it’s OK to sacrifice some precious zzzz time to nail your to-do list, right?

Wrong! Research shows adults need seven (or more) hours regularly for optimal health.


2. It doesn’t matter what time of day you sleep

Talk to a shift-worker about this one. While sleeping during the day is better than no sleep at all, science has found shift-workers sleep worse than day workers, even after retirement.

This leaves them more at risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, as well as depression.


3. Exercise at night disturbs sleep

If you like to pound the pavement or hit the gym late in the evening and fear it amps you up too much for sleep, relax.

According to a recent study, exercising in the evening doesn’t compromise your sleep – it might even improve it.


4. A glass or two of (insert favorite alcoholic drinky-poo) helps me sleep

No, no, and no. Whatever your poison, it won’t help you sleep better.

While alcohol does make you tired and can help you nod off more quickly, it’s been shown to lead to interrupted sleep and can keep you awake overnight. Try chamomile tea instead.


5. I can add to my sleep bank on the weekend

Actually catching up on sleep is much harder than you think.

Trying to compensate for late nights during the week by sleeping on the weekend isn’t healthy and has been proven to have no benefits for your body.


6. Using your phone before bed is fine if you eliminate blue light

While there are an ever-increasing number of blue-light-blocking products on the market, the experts say even just checking our phones or tablets in the hours before bedtime is enough to mess with our health.


I find myself in deep contemplation lately with all the chaos from the Coronavirus pandemic. This is normal for me, considering I’m a total introvert and my focus tends to become introspective during unsettling times. I’ve felt moments of complete fear, incredulity, sympathy and disgust. If you want to know the true heart of a person, take them to the grocery store during a crisis! This is only an observation, not a judgement, as I am well aware, we all handle situations differently, but all of this has led me to really think about my past and how I’ve chosen to deal with different circumstances.


Most of you know that I have battled alcoholism for the past 5 years and its companions depression, anxiety, loss of identity and self-worth. This path is not for the faint of heart and has led me to some very, very dark places. I won’t go into any details as that’s not the reason I am writing this. The reason I am writing this is to share that I, too, struggle and hope that my story can touch someone in the very depths of their soul and make them aware that they are not alone.


In addition to being an introvert, I’m also an empath so my feelers are constantly buzzing and I’ve felt like a ping pong ball going back and forth between all the emotions. I’ve had to go into a dark room and just sit in this quiet, peaceful spot to regain my wits and during my attempts to push all the thoughts out of my head, God whispers “You are not in control. I am. Trust in me.” At first, I am washed over completely with fear of “letting go of control” but once the truth settles into my heart, I breathe, let go and peace fills me so abundantly all I can do is smile. I am not in control of this situation any more than I am in control of the weather. The only thing I can control is how I choose to react. This is the truth in any and all situations I face, and it has taken me 35 years to understand this. I can choose to drink to ease my anxiety, I could choose to feed my worry with fast food or potato chips, or I could even choose to simply pull the blanket over my head and disappear for a while.


While these choices might help me to feel better for a short amount of time, the underlying issues and feelings that accompany them will still be there waiting for me. Each choice we make affects the next choice, and the next, and so on. Where will we end up at the end of this string of bad choices? We will, more than likely, be left feeling more depressed, more overwhelmed and riddled with the guilt and shame over the bad choices we made. So, in an effort to quickly feel better, we leave ourselves feeling infinitely worse. Isolation becomes our safe haven because we couldn’t dare talk about it with anyone out of fear of judgement or rejection and so begins the vicious cycle.


How do we defeat this circle of shame and darkness? We keep doing what we’re supposed to be doing. Keep making the choice that will set you up for a better tomorrow. When we feel our best, we act our best. Don’t hit up the drive thru because you had a stressful day at work and deserve a treat. You are not a dog! Don’t meet your friends at the bar to drown your sorrows. Don’t pull that blanket over your head and try to escape. Instead, go home and cook your meal or meet your friends for coffee and talk about your stressful day and most importantly, do not isolate. We need each other. The struggle you’re facing is not yours to face alone. Your friends and family have stood face to face against similar struggles and can guide you out of the negative thoughts roaming around your head.


Our mission at the Diet Center is to be on your accountability team. We are not here to yell at you when you have a bad food day, or you’ve gained a few pounds. We are here to walk beside you as your cheerleader on this journey because we know how important physical health is to your overall health and wellness. We are here to talk about the stressors in your life and to help you prepare a plan for when they happen, because look around… they happen! We are here to celebrate the small victories as well as the big ones. We are here to help you live your best life. We are in this together.


Love,


Nikki


After I reached my goal, I was so excited to go shopping for smaller clothing. But I had a hard time adjusting mentally to my new weight. I found myself going to the larger sizes automatically and after taking a bundle into the dressing room, the salesperson asked if these clothes were for me. They were about two sizes too big – she knew it – I did not.


The reverse can be true too. Often (when we do choose to look in the mirror) we only look from the neck up. It’s pretty easy to fool ourselves when we are just looking at our face but then denial can really become strong. We don’t acknowledge the reality of what is really going on. And with leggings and stretch pants, we can’t even tell by the fit of the clothing sometimes!


There are many strategies that we have all used over the years…baggy clothing, black coats – and just not looking. What is your real size? Take a long look in the mirror and access yourself honestly. There will be good features to acknowledge – and of course not so good. But EVERYONE has them. If a thinner, healthier body is ever to emerge from behind our fat cover-ups, it is important that we face our outer image realistically and go to work. After all, what we eat in private shows up in public.


© 2020 by Diet Center