There’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep! I try to sleep well and and get at least 7 hours – and on a good night my goal is at least 8 hours of sleep a night. That way I have more energy, promote a healthy immune system, and am able to focus on the great things that each day can bring. Not getting enough sleep can age you quickly and cause all sorts of other health issues. We all need to recharge our batteries in order to have the energy to take care of ourselves and our families.
Sleep is an essential ingredient of a healthy, fit lifestyle. While you sleep, your body gets rid of waste products and circulates minerals, vitamins and hormones. During sleep your body produces most of the infection fighting substances that help you recover from illness and injury. It also produces the natural human growth hormone that maintains and repairs muscles.
Not getting the amount of sleep you need can:
A recent survey from the National Sleep Foundation found that 67 percent of women say they have trouble sleeping several times a week. Research shows that being sleep-deprived can cause you to gain weight – and there may be many reasons for this! Some people think it’s hormonal, that lack of sleep keeps our bodies from releasing a hormone that tells us we’re full. And when we’re tired, we will often reach for food to give us energy. Also, on very basic level, if you’re staying up late to watch TV or work, it’s easy to eat mindlessly and load up on too many extra calories. Of course, you also need sleep if you want to have energy to exercise.
Naturally, the downside of not getting enough sleep goes beyond not fitting into your favorite jeans or not losing pounds. Without enough sleep, you can negatively impact your memory, your ability to concentrate, and your reaction time, therefore potentially increasing your risk of accidents or injury. By sticking with a regular workout program, you’re already doing something to help you sleep well, since women who exercise regularly tend to sleep better.
So remember to sleep well – make it a priority in your life! Try these tips for getting better rest:
1. Do something relaxing before bed. We often hear about the importance of creating bedtime rituals for babies and toddlers, but adults need them, too. It sends a signal to your body that it’s time to unwind. Each person has a different idea of what’s relaxing, but often it’s just a bath, reading a book, or talking quietly with your “honey” or kids.
2. On the other hand, make sure you don’t do anything that can get you riled up before bed. That means no watching the news or high-energy or violent television shows or movies (all those disasters and devastation stories are anything but calming). Even paying bills can make it hard to relax.
3. Put away your laptop. “Just one more e-mail…” Does that sound familiar? Working on your laptop or smart phone in bed can get in the way of our much needed rest. Besides, do you really want to dream about work?
4. Turn off all the lights. Light causes your body to suppress melatonin, a hormone known to help you fall asleep and stay that way, so start your bedtime ritual by dimming the lights. When it’s time to hit the sack, make your bedroom as dark as possible by closing the blinds (get blackout shades if you need to) and turning off any lights. Also make sure to cover lights like those from a plugged in cell phone, digital clock or computer, since their brightness can seep through closed eyelids and disrupt your sleep. If you can’t block out all the light coming into your room, consider slipping on a sleep mask.
5. Get quiet. Your bedroom should be a quiet sanctuary to hep you sleep well. But if outside noise or a bad partner who snores keep you up, try a white noise device like a fan or air conditioner, a sound machine or soothing sound CD; or even try earplugs. If your phone tends to ring a lot at night, give friends and family a curfew in terms of how late they can call, or turn off your ringer and let your voice mail do the talking.
6. Set a routine. Studies have shown that climbing into bed at the same time each night trains your body to get tired at a certain time, which makes falling asleep a lot easier. (It makes getting up easier, too!)
7. Write away your worries in a note. We often have a hundred things (or more) going through our heads at a time, and just because our bodies are ready to sleep doesn’t mean our minds stop racing. Whether it’s to dos, worries, or even great ideas on your mind, they can make it hard to get a good night’s sleep. If you can take a few minutes before bed to write these things down, you’ll know they won’t be forgotten and you will probably drift off more easily and soundly.
8. Don’t eat too close to bedtime. Heavy meals just before bed can really disrupt your sleep. Even eating something healthy to close to bedtime may keep you up. Give yourself a few hours between dinner and when you head hits the pillow.
9. Focus on your breathing. Breathing is something that you can easily focus on and control, helping to calm your mind before bedtime if it starts to race. Simply breath in, and out, and try to really zone in on keeping your breath regulated. You may find it helps you fall asleep easier!
I hope these sleep well tips help YOU get better rest tonight and in the future!