Have you said “bye bye” to sleeping through the night?
Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?
Don’t fear…I have some great tips for you!
The Impact Of Sleep On Our Health
The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing. Sleep is this thing that we all do daily, and yet we’re just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.
Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind. People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. In addition, insufficient sleep contributes to slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation. And don’t forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.
Did you know….lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program?!
Knowing this it’s easy to see the three main purposes of sleep:
- To restore our body and mind. Our bodies repair, grow and even “detoxify” while we sleep.
- To improve our brain’s ability to learn and remember things, known as “synaptic plasticity”.
- To conserve some energy so we’re not just actively “out and about” 24-hours a day, every day.
So do you know how much sleep adults need? It’s less than your growing kids, but you may be surprised that it’s recommended that all adults get 7 – 9 hours per night. For real!
Try not to skimp!
But don’t worry. I have you covered with a bunch of actionable tips below.
Tips for better sleep
- The biggest tip is to try to get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule. Make it a priority and you’re more likely to achieve it. This means turning off the lights 8 hours before your alarm goes off. Seven. Days. A. Week. I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for a few weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.
- Balance your blood sugar throughout the day. You know, eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber). Choose the whole orange instead of the juice or orange-flavored snack. Make sure you’re getting some protein every time you eat.
- During the day get some sunshine and exercise. These things tell your body it’s daytime; time for being productive, active and alert. By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.
- Cut off your caffeine and added sugar intake after noon. Whole foods like fruits and veggies are fine, it’s the “added” sugar we’re minimizing. Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte (one of my weaknesses). Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be come evening.
- Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time, as determined in the first tip. This would include dimming your artificial lights, nixing screen time and perhaps reading an (actual, not “e”) book or having a bath.
So which of these tips will you start implementing today?