Make healthy suggestions.
Scope the menu ahead of time.
Snack before you eat.
Go for the 50% veggie ratio.
Count drinks and cap it at two.
Okay. Real talk time. We’ve all had to pull the occasional all-nighter, whether it’s to finish up work, take care of your children or play a video game ( I know who you are!!) In my twenties, I co-founded a marketing agency, and there were a few times where I slept in the office because I thought “I didn’t have time to go home.” So, instead of wasting 1.5 hours on commuting, I would stay at the office all night, sleep for 1.5 hours and then get back to business.
I can’t stress enough how terrible this is for your body. My lack of sleep and incredible amounts of stress were big contributors my worsening autoimmune conditions. What's more, studies have demonstrated that keeping your body awake for just 17 to 19 hours straight impacts performance more than a blood-alcohol level of .1 percent* (the legal limit in most Western European countries). This seemingly innocuous level of sleep deprivation slows a person’s reaction time down by 50 percent compared to a person who is well-rested. So, if you’re driving your children around, or attempting to deliver a killer presentation, just keep in mind that you’re basically performing drunk.
So, what is the optimal amount of sleep?
It’s not the 8 hours the old adage would make you think. Though every body is different and needs varying levels of sleep and self-care Daniel Kripke, arguably the world’s most accomplished sleep researcher, says people that get between 6.5 and 7.5 hours of sleep per night are the happiest and most productive, and they live the longest. When we sleep, our body is focused on much-needed repair work. It’s the key to feeling energized, looking younger, staying slimmer and having a better functioning brain. On the flip side, too much sleep (anything in excess of eight hours per night) is actually correlated with significantly higher mortality rates. Though, the research does point to lifestyle factors as contributors. So when it comes to sleep, balance is everything.
Can we make up for lost sleep?
Many of my clients suffer from imbalanced sleep—they’ll get roughly 4-5 hours per week night and then attempt to “catch up” on the weekends. But, can we actually make up lost sleep? A recent sleep study found that sleepiness, inflammation and stress hormones all returned to normal after weekend recovery sleep. However, measurements on performance tests that assessed participants ability to pay attention, significantly deteriorated after sleep deprivation and didn’t improve after recovery sleep. That is to suggest, weekday sleep debt can’t be recouped over just one weekend.
So what’s a busy professional to do in order to get the healthy amount of shut-eye?