Sleep doesn’t get as much attention as diet and exercise when it comes to health and wellness. However, plays a significant role in how you feel. If you want to improve your health, boost energy, and increase mental focus, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do.
How Sleep Impacts Your Health
If you’ve ever spent the night tossing and turning and counting down the hours until your alarm goes off, then you know how tired, short-tempered, and out of it you can feel the next day.
But sleep deprivation doesn’t just affect how you feel the next day. Neglecting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night can have significant long-term effects on your health.
In the short-term, poor and inadequate sleep can cause poor cognition, increased appetite, and depressed mood. Studies have shown that long-term sleep deprivation can result in various health problems and complications including:
- Memory problems
- Trouble thinking and concentrating
- Mood changes
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes risk
- Heart disease risk
- Decreased sex drive
- Poor balance
- Decreased immunity
- Increased appetite, cravings
- Weight gain
- Poor recovery and exercise performance
Your body requires sleep, just as it needs food, water, and oxygen to function optimally. While you’re sleeping, your body heals itself and restores its chemical balance. Your brain forms new connections that help you process and recall new information.
With inadequate sleep, your brain and body systems won’t function properly. It can also greatly decrease your quality of life.
4 Tips to Get Deeper and More Restful Sleep
Consistent sleep routine
A consistent sleep schedule is crucial for achieving good sleep hygiene. Going to bed and waking up at different times every day can disrupt your internal clock. To optimize sleep, and thereby your health, it is important to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends and holidays.
To get your body accustomed to your new sleep schedule, it can be helpful to develop a nightly routine. This can include taking a shower, brushing your teeth, a skincare routine, meditating, reading a book, or listening to music. Whatever it is, the routine should be exactly the same every night. This will signal to your body and brain that it’s time for sleep.
Stress and anxiety have a significant impact on sleep initiation, duration, and quality. If your stress levels are high or you suffer from anxiety, you may have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.
Here are some strategies that can help you manage stress to achieve a deeper and more restful sleep:
Deep breathing helps calm your nervous system, reducing physiological and psychological stress, leaving you feeling more relaxed and centered.
- While lying down, allow your chest to expand.
- Take a deep inhalation through your nose.
- Retain your breath for a count of 5.
- Slowly release your breath by exhaling through your nose.
- Repeat this until you feel relaxed or fall asleep (5-20mins).
Supplements that may reduce stress
Certain supplements have been shown to have a positive effect on both physical and psychological stress. Adaptogenic herbs in particular appear to have a protective effect against stress. Some also boost immunity and overall well-being.
The recovery mushroom supplement from Naked Nutrition includes 6 US-grown adaptogenic mushrooms and can reduce post-exercise soreness, balance physical and cognitive stress, and promote quality rest and rejuvenation.
Research shows adaptogens may combat fatigue, boost mental performance, improve depression and anxiety, and help you thrive rather than just survive.
Get more physical activity
Regular physical activity has been associated with improved mood, decreased depression and anxiety, reduced stress, and fewer sleep disturbances. If you’re feeling stressed, routinely moving your body may help.
In a 6-week study of 185 college students, participants reported significantly reduced levels of overall stress from just 2 days of aerobic activity per week.
If you’re not currently active, start with something simple and enjoyable, like walking or bike riding. If you enjoy the activity, you’ll be more likely to stick with it long-term.
Optimal sleep environment
Many sleep experts believe that your environment has a great deal to do with the quality of your sleep. Environmental factors that affect sleep include temperature, lighting, noise, and clutter or furniture arrangement.
Some studies show that the optimal temperature for sleep is 66 – 70°F. Warmer temperatures can shorten sleep durations and promote non-REM sleep.
To set yourself up for a good night’s sleep, minimize outside sound, light, and light from other devices (TVs, alarm clocks).
Increase exposure to bright light during the day
Your body has an internal clock that regulates sleep known as your circadian rhythm. Exposure to natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. This boosts your daytime energy and improves sleep quality and duration.
Additionally, you should limit exposure to blue light at least 1 hour before bed time. Although light has a positive effect on energy levels and sleep during the day, it can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime when it’s time to sleep.
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Sleep is just as important as nutrition and exercise for health and well-being. In the short-term, sleep deprivation can cause fatigue, difficulty concentrating, poor memory, and poor exercise performance. Long-term, lack of sleep can significantly impact your health.
It is critical that you get 7-9 hours of quality sleep nightly. Implementing a bedtime routine, optimizing your sleep environment, managing stress, and taking supplements that promote sleep and recovery can all help you get a better night’s sleep.
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