Sleep, you elusive bastard

I don’t get enough sleep. Actually, no one does. According to the CDC, “insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic.” Yes, you read that correctly. It’s an epidemic. I don’t think my lack of sleep is that bad, but there are definitely people who suffer as a result.

There are so many different factors that contribute to this. Personally, it’s just my life. Between my work schedule, my husband’s work schedule, the toddler and just the need to be a wife and mom, I don’t have time for much else. I try to sleep when the kid sleeps but that doesn’t always work out the way I expect it. And I don’t think my boss would appreciate impromptu nap times at my desk. For other people, lack of sleep could be caused by medication, diet (maybe too much caffeine, for example), 24/7 connectivity – damn you smartphones! – or any other multitude of factors.

But, a lack of sleep is about so much more than being rested. People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from conditions like diabetes, obesity, hypertension and depression. I don’t know about you, but when I get enough sleep, I feel like a completely different person, emotionally and physically. When something as simple as sleep can make such a difference in our lives, why don’t we make an effort to get more of it? Maybe we just don’t know how much sleep we need.

The NIH suggests the following guidelines:

School aged children: at least 10 hours a day

Teens: 9 to 10 hours

Adults: 7 to 8 hours.

On average, I get anywhere from 5 to 6 hours a night, but I function best when I get about 9 hours a night. But back to my original question. Why don’t we get more sleep? It’s just sleep! It’s so easy to do! My answer? Life. We want to get as much done as possible. If that means staying up all night to get that stuff done, that’s what we’ll do. Or maybe we just want to watch one more episode of Downton Abbey (my current binge watching guilty pleasure) and before you know it, it’s 3 am and we have to be at work at 5 am. Maybe, it’s the only personal time you can have after the rest of your family goes to sleep.

Courtesy of: http://www.stickycomics.com/whats-sleep/

Who knows? We just need to make sure that we make strides to get more sleep. It’s one of the first steps to improving our overall health. If getting a couple more hours of sleep can extend my life and help me manage my pre-diabetes and high cholesterol, I’m all for it.

In 2015, I’m going to strive to get 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Will I do it every night, probably not. But if I can do it at least a few times a week, it’ll be worth it.

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Turkey (and other foods) Day

For me, Thanksgiving is all about the food. I’m not American and never celebrated Thanksgiving prior to moving to the states 13 years ago. And even then, if I wasn’t in a relationship, it was either a day off work or an opportunity to make time and a half at work.

However, my husband and I have been together almost six years and for the last 6 years we’ve celebrated the holiday by cooking massive amounts of food and inviting friends over to eat us out of house and home. This year, since we’re new to Arizona, we don’t have many people to invite so it’ll just be us and maybe one or two friends. The menu is generally the same every year:

– Turkey (I’ve been told by everyone who tastes it that it’s the best turkey they have ever eaten);

– Ham;

– Sweet potato casserole;

– Mac and cheese;

– a random vegetable that no one ever eats. This year, it’ll be green beans;

– dessert – usually a pie of some sort.

I have a bad habit of eating ridiculous amounts of food on Turkey Day and Christmas, especially the sweet potato casserole and ham. Those are, by far, my favorites.

Overeaters-Guide-TOP

Self control is a must for me this year since I’m trying to keep things in check…but it’s all so good! And then we’ll do it all over again for Christmas. Why do I even try to make a lifestyle change right before the holidays? Oh yeah, I’ve gotta get my life together.

Have a great holiday this week, everyone…And don’t forget to be considerate of people and their relationship with food. You never know what can be a trigger for someone suffering silently with an eating disorder. Hop over to Buzzfeed to reference this list of what not to say about food at Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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I Thought I Was Healthy

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Last week, I went to the doctor for an annual. She walked into the office, introduced herself and said “You have a goiter. Let’s get you an ultrasound to make sure it’s not serious.” Man, this doctor is efficient. But I was still thrown for a loop. I’ve had this swelling in my neck my entire life and never once has any doctor told me that it’s a goiter and suggested that we get it checked.

So that afternoon, I got my ultrasound done. The next morning after fasting for what felt like forever, I went for a crapton of bloodwork – cholesterol, blood sugar, thyroid hormone levels, iron levels etc.. I swear they took 50 vials of blood and 3 gallons of urine.

Fast forward to today. I got a phone call a couple days ago telling me to come in to discuss my results since they found nodules on my thyroid. The earliest they could fit me in was today so, for the last day and a half I’ve been stressing out. Long story short, I have high cholesterol, am prediabetic, have iron deficiency anaemia and am scheduled for a biopsy of my thyroid nodules next Thursday.

I’m freaking out.

I’m afraid of having cancer. I mean, I have a family. A one year old. Nothing can happen to me. I know that 95% of thyroid nodules are benign but my dad died of cancer that seemingly came out of nowhere. Then the cholesterol and the prediabetes. My dad had diabetes too and that was no fun. I’ve been doing research on what I can do. And I know it boils down to exercise and weight loss but it’s not as easy as it sounds.

I don’t even know what to do right now. I’ve been doing research on different lifestyle changes that I need to make and it’s so freaking overwhelming. I mean, everything has sugar! The cholesterol piece isn’t going to be too difficult for me, though. So I guess that’s one less thing I need to stress out about.

At least I can say I started taking steps before I got these details today. I haven’t had a soda since the first, and I’ve not had any fast food or pizza. I’ve definitely NOT been consistent with working out though. People keep telling me that I look like I’ve lost weight but it’s hard for me to relish in that knowing what I know about what’s going on inside my body.

I’ve got to keep reminding myself…baby steps.