Next week i'm going to do a webinar for the Chamber of Commerce. It's on how to be cognizant of our 'wellbeing' as an adult in a small business. One thing i'm going to talk about is sleep!
What if I told you there exists a miracle supplement that would improve your workout performance, prevent injury, build muscle, burn fat, increase energy, AND it's free? Is it creatine? Protein powder? A book of perfectly balanced vegetarian recipes?
Turns out it's just simple shut-eye. There's a wealth of information on the subject that can't be contained in this email, but for more details on the evolution and function of our sleep cycle, I suggest the book "Why We Sleep" by Mathew Walker.
Unfortunately for our circaddian rhythms, our culture is built on caffeine and steeped in wine. We love staying up late drinking and getting up early with multiple cups of coffee. As a college kid it's become part of the experience (just watch any teen movie ever made). As an adult too, it's culturally encouraged in the workforce to either stay up late being productive or be a go getter and wake up early. Or do both! (And don't forget to unwind after a long day with a beer). The effect of Alcohol on our health is three-fold. First, alcohol is well known for suppressing the "sleep hormone" melatonin, which directly impacts the quality and quantity of our slumber. Secondly, when drinking alcohol, we're much more likely to accompany it with surplus calories. Beer and pizza together are America's Sweethearts after all. Lastly it affects us the day after, which extends it's duration of influence into the range of 24-36hrs. We're more likely to feel achy, listless, and unmotivated. Possibly hungover. Instead of eating balanced meals, going outside, and pursuing physical activites, we end up on the couch with treats. So while there's nothing wrong with alcohol per say, there are layers to the opportunity cost involved that perhaps we don't see.
And coffee well...it's easy to comprehend how dosing ourselve with a stimulant throughout the day will not be beneficial for sleep.
I'm not saying that alcohol or coffee are inherently "bad". What i'd like to propose is an awareness of their effects past what the industry's marketing efforts would have us believe. Let's widen the context. Lets see past the false equivalencies of coffee = productivity = good. Alcohol = self care = wholesome and enriching.
Somewhere along the line, we made up the equivalency of fitness = deprivation. And that's just not the case. If we could recognize that, we'd be on our way to a better relationship with our circaddian rhythms and gathering more consistent wellbeing in our lives.