Sleep zzzzzzz…

Sleep matters. We all require adequate sleep to function well but so many of us are living sleep deprived. Up to 60% of us report that we have trouble sleeping a few nights a week – what secrets do the other 40% know about getting a good night’s rest?

Consequences

Poor sleep can lead to some pretty big consequences. We know that not getting enough sleep increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure. It can also have psychological effects like depression, inattentiveness, and increased anxiety.

Noticing weight gain?  Sleep issues seem to have an effect on the hormones that regulate hunger and slow down that metabolism. Craving carbs in the afternoon and evening? Researchers say that’s the hormones at work. Also, who feels up to exercising when sleep deprived!

How many hours of sleep do we need?

Our bodies are designed to generally require 7-9 hours of sleep a night. I know, I know, we all know people who swear that they only need 5 hours of sleep … but studies show these people aren’t functioning as well as they would if they slept for at least 7 hours.

Good Sleep Practices

How can I make sure I’m getting quality sleep? Here are a few tips to help you create a health sleep routine!

  • Stick to a schedule! ( Yes, even on weekends!) Try to go to bed around the same time each night, it’s a myth that you can “catch up” on sleep by sleeping in on Sunday morning…
  • Keep electronics out of the bedroom – the light emitted from phones, tablets and televisions isn’t helping your sleep ( it suppresses melatonin!)
  • Exercise daily ( but not too close to bedtime)
  • Wind down – create a nightly routine, perhaps reading a  chapter of a book, light stretching, turning down the lights an hour or so before bed. If you have children you probably recall how sleep routines worked to settle everyone down for the night!
  • Check out the temperature in your bedroom, 60-67 degrees is optimal!
  • If you have problems falling asleep or staying asleep speak with your Doctor, some conditions can affect your sleep.

Benefits of Sleep

Did you know that there are some awesome benefits when you sleep well?

  • Boost your immune system! Fighting cold/flu viruses benefit from your nightly rest, your immune cells function best when you are rested.
  • Brain Power! Your brain is sharper when you have quality sleep, it performs complex tasks with a higher degree of ease and you avoid that ‘mental fog’ that some of us experience when sleep deprived.
  • Looking to achieve your P.B. on your 5k? Sleep helps to boost athletic performance, it may be just the thing to help you achieve those athletic goals!
  • Regulating blood pressure – we’ve all heard how important it is to maintain a healthy blood pressure – sleep helps to prevent those bumps in your BP number.

Tweaking your own sleep routine, making sure you are getting enough hours of sleep each night and exercising during the day are all pretty simple ways to improve your night’s rest! Take advantage of the health benefits and mental well-being that comes along with quality sleep!