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Updated 26 January 2016

UltimateYou Challenge Day 8: Get 8 Hours of Sleep Tonight

Welcome to Day 8 of the Free 30-Day Ultimate You Healthy Habits Challenge brought to you by Sleekgeek and Health24!

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On this 30 day challenge you will receive one task daily to complete in order to help you eat, move, think, and sleep better.

Today’s task is to get 8 hours of sleep tonight.

Sleep is one of the most overlooked limiting factors on your journey to living a healthy lifestyle.

Here’s an example: Some who is struggling with sugar cravings and finds themselves constantly snacking all day. It’s making them put on more and more weight - causing them to resort to dramatically restrictive diets or expensive supplements to try and get things under control.

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But what if all they needed was 1 hour of extra sleep each night and suddenly their cravings became much more manageable?

Now getting more sleep isn’t the magic solution to weight loss - but it certainly helps enormously.

Not enough sleep is strongly linked to weight gain, depression, overeating, decreased concentration and productivity, poorer athletic performance, greater risk for heart disease and strokes, and a weaker immune function. Those who don't get enough sleep also become more insulin resistant with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, as well as suffer from more inflammatory problems.

Getting enough high-quality sleep helps us properly regulate the hormones ghrelin and leptin that stimulate and suppress appetite respectively. Studies show that people who are sleep deprived have a bigger appetite and tend to eat more calories (and therefore put on more weight).

Sleep deprived individuals also tend to crave more sugary and carbohydrate-dense foods as a quick and easy source of energy to make up for their lack of sleep. Sleep, or lack thereof affects every single area of your life whether you like it or not.

Read: Day 1: Eat slowly and mindfully

Many people say they can't find the time to get more sleep, but the truth is you will never find that time. You have to make it.

Despite all of the benefits of sleep and risks of not getting enough, you may be sitting there thinking to yourself that there is just absolutely no way you can do it. You are just too busy, there is too much that you need to do, you couldn't possible go to sleep with so many tasks left undone.

Well… There is a quote by Abraham Lincoln that says: "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." Many of the richest and most successful people in the world are also the biggest advocates of making time to look after their health, because they know that small amount of time invested pays back big time in productivity and better overall performance.

When they are well-rested and healthy, they can get more done in a shorter amount of time and do a better job at it too.

Everyone tends to operate better on a different amount of sleep. Most people need more sleep while some people actually function better on less.

Read: Day 2: Move 6,000 steps

However getting a solid 8 hours is the most commonly beneficial amount for the average person and is a great goal to aim for. If you only get 7, that’s still good enough too.

If you overshoot and get 9 then it’s certainly not the end of the world either. For the purpose of this challenge your goal is 8 tonight.

The good news is that there is a LOT you can do today to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep tonight.

To list a few of the most effective ones:

 1.    Keep alcohol and caffeine intake moderate (or ideally none).

2.    Eat a reasonably sized meal - too much and it may affect your sleep.

3.    Try to limit fluids 2-3 hours before bed-time.

4.    Do a brain dump before bed by taking a few minutes to write out a list of anything that’s worrying you or is lingering on your mind - good or bad.

Read: Day 3: List 5 things that you are grateful for

5.    Unplug from ALL screens (TVs, computers, phones, tablets, kindles) at least 30 minutes before bed. Too much light (especially blue light) suppresses melatonin production which we need for deep sleep and the regulation of our metabolism.

6.    Block out as much light at night as you can. Cover up power plug or electronic device lights, block out street lights with blinds or thick curtains, turn off the bathroom light that might be shining down the passageway or under the door, and so on.

7.    Spend 5-10 minutes stretching and doing some very light movement before bed.

8.    Avoid intense exercises 1-2 hours before bed.

9.    Control the room temperature (19-22 degrees celsius is recommended for the best sleep) or at least get your body temperature a big lower before going to sleep.

10.  Read before bed - from a paper book, not a kindle or tablet or phone that has backlight.

11.  Do some meditation or just simple deep breathing exercises for a few minutes.

JOIN UP
You can sign up for FREE here: Ultimate You 

In case you missed these:

Day 5: Eat green veggies with dinner

Day 6: Do 50 Squats

Day 7: Take photos of yourself in your underwear

DONE!

See you tomorrow for your next healthy habit.

 
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