I recently read the incredible book Eat Move Sleep (Tom Rath, 2013). I would highly recommend this book to you. The premise for the book is “how small choices lead to big changes.” When you make better choices in the moment, it benefits your overall health and well-being. While you can’t change your family history, you can change your family future by making better choices today.
The bottom line is that eating right is not enough; exercise alone is insufficient; and sleeping well, in isolation, is not adequate. When you focus all your energy on just one of these pursuits, it often comes at the expense of another. It is essential to think about all three elements together.
For the purpose of posting in this blog, I’ll separate my favorite content from the book into the three categories; Eat, Move, and Sleep.
Sleep: Sleep longer to get more done.
- The typical mindset is to get more done by sleeping less, which is completely opposite to what actually happens.
- Ericsson’s 1993 study suggests that the average person performs optimally with 8 hours and 36 minutes of sleep. The average American gets just 6 hours and 51 minutes of sleep on weeknights.
- Sleep longer tonight to do more tomorrow.
- Studies show that sleep loss increases risk of getting sick.
- Eliminate as much light as possible. Decrease TV watching before going to sleep.
- Our sleep is enhanced when it’s cooler.
- Memory is enhanced during sleep; everything you’ve learned the day before is encoded and filed in your brain for later recollection. Less sleep time cuts this process short, and studies have shown that sleeplessness is a big factor in memory loss.
- Try exercise instead of sleeping pills; no matter the time of day.
- One of the biggest impediments to sleep is what you do in the hour before you go to bed. NO stress-filled activity like checking emails, stressing about finances, arguing with spouse, or watching scary movies. Leave at least one hour to unwind before sleeping.
- Consider adding “white noise” to your sleep. Not only will it help you sleep through distractions, you can also take it with you when you are away. The challenge is to find the right threshold of background noise to eliminate the unwanted noises while still allowing you to hear smoke alarms or other critical noises.
- Losing weight is one of the best ways to counteract fatigue. Fortunately, better sleep helps with weight loss over time. Start with swapping an hour of television for an hour of sleep. A study on this topic suggests that doing so could result in a loss of over 14 pounds over a year. Remember, it starts with your next meal; one day of eating right and sleeping well sets a positive cycle in motion.
- The better you sleep; the better you eat. If you sleep less, you will eat more, remember less, get sick more often, and you will look bad. When you think about your health, sleep often gets pushed to the back burner but it is a trap. Sleep is not a luxury; it is a basic necessity.