5- You Don’t Get To Bed Early Enough
A new study on modern day hunter-gatherer tribes across the globe – the San of southern Africa, the Tsimane in Bolivia and the Hadza in Tanzania – found they sleep an average of 6-7 hours per night, less than the 7.5-8.5 hours of sleep experts generally consider the “sweet spot” for optimal rest and rejuvenation. So, does this mean you don’t really need more sleep?
Not exactly. The answer changes depending on the season. The researchers found that in the shorter, darker days of winter, the tribes went to bed about one hour earlier than during the summer months. While they did stay up a few hours after sunset, they weren’t exactly “night owls;” their average bedtime was 9:15pm in winter and 10:45pm in summer. The hunter-gatherer tribes were found to wake up at the same time throughout the year.
For many of us, the winter months leading up to the holiday season are often the busiest months at home and at work. This means later bedtimes and less total sleep. Most people struggle to get bed before midnight (laptops, cell phones and TVs don’t help) and typically don’t get to bed earlier in the colder, darker winter months.
The Fix: Switch off and get to bed earlier in the colder, darker, winter months to prevent illnesses and feel more energized. Research shows that sleeping less than 5 hours at night equals a 5-fold increased risk of catching a cold or flu, so make sure that, even during busy periods, you aren’t running on empty.
Don’t fall for the myth that people “just get sick sometimes” or “it is normal to get sick x number of times each year.”
The truth is that you should be thriving! If your body is healthy and functioning at an optimum level, sickness, illness, feeling under the weather… should all be incredibly rare.
When you start getting sick, try to find the root of the cause. Focus on rest and healing and changing your lifestyle so that your body doesn’t fall into the same trap again.