Getting a good night’s sleep is so much more important to your health than just how you feel the next day. You may not realize it, but there are a lot of things going on inside your body while you are sleeping. The current recommendations for a good night’s sleep for adults is 7 to 9 hours, while for children the recommendation ranges from 9 to 12 hours of sleep per night depending on their age.
So, why is sleep so important for your health? All of your body systems need an adequate amount of sleep in order to function properly. Sleep is an important part of healing. While you are sleeping, your body is busy repairing blood vessels and reducing inflammation from irritation or injury. Getting enough sleep has also been linked to weight loss because stress hormones, like cortisol, decrease while you are sleeping. Sleep also raises your creativity levels and sharpens your brain, especially when you are trying to learn something new during your waking hours. This is why it is imperative that children get enough sleep, but it is very important as adults, too. As adults, getting enough sleep may seem impossible. There are kids to care for, jobs to go to, bills to pay, and a home to keep up, but all of those things get easier if you simply get enough quality sleep.
So, if you are one of the many who is never going to get nine hours of sleep per night, what can you do to make sure that the sleep you DO get is optimal? Quite a lot actually!
Make time for exercise! Studies show that people who exercise regularly sleep much better than those who don’t. Just make sure that you aren’t working out too close to bedtime.
Set an alarm to go to bed. Yes, you read that correctly…set an alarm to make sure that you are getting into bed on time. Unfortunately, especially as adults, it is really easy to look down at your watch and realize that you should have gone to bed an hour ago.
Cut the caffeine out early. Try to avoid any caffeinated drinks by late afternoon. While it’s true that caffeine can give you a boost of energy in the morning or to get over the afternoon hump, it is also true that it is effective in your system for longer than you might think.
Turn the electronics off an hour before bed. This includes tablets, cell phones, laptops, and televisions. In fact, most sleep experts recommend that you not even have a television in the bedroom. The light coming from the screens of these devices is sending signals to your brain to wake up and process what you are seeing.
Avoid alcohol before bed. While a few drinks might relax you and make it easier to fall asleep initially, you are likely to sleep fitfully throughout the night with alcohol in your system. Chamomile tea or a warm glass of milk are better options before bed.
Getting enough quality sleep every night plays a huge role in your overall health. Try some of the tips included here to help boost the amount and quality of sleep you are getting. You may end up with unexpected results like weight loss, higher energy levels, elevated mood, and less stress.