The best way to have a good tomorrow, is to get a good night’s sleep tonight!
Sleep is something most of us love; however, it is often something that we often do not take full advantage. Most research indicates that adults should sleep 7-9 hours daily. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adults who sleep less than 7 hours per day are more likely to report being obese, physically inactive, current smokers and experience higher rates of chronic disease than compared to people who sleep more than 7 hours per day.
Sleep strengthens people’s health and can decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, poor mental health, impaired immunity as well as many other health challenges.
Adequate sleep serves three biological functions: it restores, repairs and energizes. Sleep restores you both physically and mentally. When we sleep our body consolidates memories, learning is synthesized and our brain is wiped cleared from daily challenges. Sleep provides an opportunity for our bodies to repair. While sleeping our bodies release repairative chemicals. Sleep conserves body energy and allows our bodies the opportunity to rest and recover.
The good news is that your lifestyle matters and your can make changes today that will help you get quality and quantity of sleep. You can:
- Move more throughout the day through physical activity and exercise (select activities you enjoy)
- Eat well (fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, legumes, nuts, seeds)
- Avoid caffeine (especially in the PM hours)
- Avoid drugs and alcohol (they hurt your sleep quality and quantity)
- Detox from technology (avoid technology close to bed)
- No naps (avoid naps for good night-time quality)
- Avoid negative thinking and feelings (avoid upsetting media or events close to bed time)
- Turn off the lights in the evening (our bodies naturally release melatonin)
- Go to be when tired (don’t fight it, go with it)
- Be consistent (bed and wake routine)
- Create a sleep room (quiet, dark, cool, and relaxing)
- Condition yourself into better sleep (practice makes progress)
- Avoid sleep “aids” and nighttime pain medication (let your body do the work)
- Use a sleep journal (bed time, sleep time, wake up, get out of bed, take naps, exercise, alcohol, caffeine, how you feel, etc.)
You may think that this is too many items to incorporate into your lifestyle; however, please know that you can focus on one area at a time. Focus on progress, not perfection. Please remember that sleep is essential and work towards making sleep a priority in your life. Start today!