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One of the most important health factors within our control is sleep. The amount and quality of sleep greatly affects our overall physical, mental and emotional health in a variety of ways. Which, in turn, affects our relationships.
Simply and logically, lack of sleep lowers our level of energy, makes us more groggy and less able to cope in an effective manner. But there is so much more to be realized. Research on sleep patterns and benefits is overwhelming and consistent. If we want to positively change the way we respond to others, our environment and our circumstances, committing to a habit of quality and quantity of sleep is essential!
Adults require between 7-8 hours of QUALITY SLEEP each night, yet greater than 35% of adults report sleeping less than that!
There are significant NEGATIVE acute and long-term effects associated with LACK of sleep:
- Decreased alertness and memory
- Daytime sleepiness
- Increased moodiness and relationship stress
- Less quality of life
- More potential for auto accidents
- Increased blood pressure
- Greater risk for diabetes, heart attack and stroke
- Reduced immunity
- Weight gain
- Decreased sex drive
- Excess cortisol levels
- Accelerated signs of aging
If this isn’t enough to convince you of the importance of sleep, then LET’S DIG A LITTLE DEEPER…
Health professionals and researchers agree 7-8 hours of QUALITY SLEEP each night is CRITICAL for the average adult.
According to the American Sleep Association, sleep can literally SAVE YOUR LIFE! Not only can you avoid the negative effects caused by deprivation of sleep, but you will also experience the overarching benefits when you maximize both your quality and quantity of sleep!
Let’s look at the POSITIVE EFFECTS of getting enough sleep…
- Improved concentration and productivity
- Decreased risk of obesity
- Less appetite due to proper regulation of calories
- Enhanced athletic performance
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Higher social and emotional intelligence
- Lower incidence of depression
- Less inflammation in the body
- Boosted immunity
- Better regulation of blood sugar
- Slow the signs of aging
- Improve regulation of hormones
- Increased sex drive
Quite a profitable list, right?
Now that you are convinced of the great importance of getting 7-8 hours of QUALITY SLEEP each night, the question is HOW?
Although not a magic remedy, following these methods can IMPROVE your chances of getting adequate sleep:
- Gradually increase the length of sleep by adding 15 minutes each night.
- Avoid sleeping more than 9 hours as this can actually make you more sleepy.
- Keep a regular sleep routine before bed which includes going to bed at the same time every night.
- Increase your amount of daily outdoor, fresh-air time.
- Engage in aerobic exercise daily, but not too close to bedtime!
- Minimize your caffeine intake, especially after lunch..
- Don’t drink alcohol before bed as this may make you sleepy at first but has been found to increase wakefulness at night.
- Put away all electronic devices at least one hour before bed to reduce the stimulating effects of screen time.
- Keep your room as dark as possible during sleeping hours.
- Keep your room temperature cool and sleep under covers. Studies show the ideal room temperature is 65 degrees.
- Have adequate room to spread out in your bed. Don’t sleep with your kids or pets.
- Abstain from smoking or nicotine use as this is a stimulant.
- Use stress reducing techniques throughout your day. Stress is the number one interrupter of quality sleep! Ultimately reducing stress in your everyday life will benefit you in all areas of wellbeing. You can try things like the “CALM” app or white noise to help you relax prior to bedtime.
Make time to sleep and sleep well. Not only will you reap the benefits, but your relationships will too!
“Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds.” -Jojo Jensen