It may seem obvious that sleep is beneficial to your health. Even without being fully aware of what it does for us, we know that going without for too long makes us feel terrible, and that getting a good night of shut eye can make us feel ready to take on the world. But why is it that most people do not get enough?
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” –Benjamin Franklin
For some it might be because you do not make sleep a priority; you stay up all night working, studying or having fun. While others might spend the majority of your night annoyingly tossing and turning in bed, making a good attempt, but largely failing. Either way, going without adequate sleep will deplete your whole self: it carries with it both short- and long-term consequences.
In the short term, a lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. In the long term, chronic deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality.
Getting good sleep can change your life. How you feel and the choices you make during your waking hours – like your daily routines, what you eat and drink, the medications you take, how you schedule your days and how you choose to spend your evenings, can significantly impact quality. Even a few slight adjustments can, in some cases, mean the difference between a sound or a restless night. Although you might not be able to control all of the interfering factors, you can adopt habits that encourage a better nights rest.
Start with these simple sleep health tips.
Stick to a schedule:
Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations. A consistent sleep-wake schedule helps set your body’s internal clock and optimize the quality of your rest. However, if you don’t fall asleep within about 15 minutes, get up and do something relaxing. Go back to bed when you’re tired. If you agonize over falling asleep, you might find it even tougher to nod off.
Pay attention to what you eat and drink:
Don’t go to bed either hungry or stuffed. Your discomfort might keep you up. Also, nicotine, caffeine and alcohol deserve caution. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine can wreak havoc on quality sleep. So avoid caffeine (found in coffee, tea, chocolate, cola, and some pain relievers) for four to six hours before bedtime. And even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy at first, it can disrupt your slumber later in the night.
Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise is proven to help you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep.
Don’t bring the worries of the world to bed with you. Try to clear your mind. Before bed, jot down what’s on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.
Create a comfortable sleep environment:
Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet.
We should look at our health in the eyes of longevity…and sometimes the most productive (and healthy) thing we can do is sleep.