There are numerous reasons to getting a good night's sleep. I will detail a few of them in a later blog, but here are some major benefits of getting a full night of sleep.
- A better ability to lose weight and body fat
- Improved focus and memory
- A stronger immune system
- A reduced rate of injury
- Improved mood and sex drive
Who doesn't want that last one right? Sleep deficiency is also linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. All that being said, many of us still have a hard time falling asleep. An estimate from the CDC says 50 - 70 million Americans have chronic sleep disorders. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 45% of Americans say that poor or insufficient sleep affected their daily activities at least once in the past seven days. What can we do to change this? Here are some ways we improve our sleep hygiene.
Schedule when to get comfortable
Remember when we were kids, we had a bedtime. Lights out at 9PM! It was expected and a good habit. When we get older, that strict bedtime got looser and probably went away when adulthood arrived. We are now bombarded with mental, physical and environmental distractions. Start by setting a bedtime routine that works for your lifestyle and stick to it. Sure, some days are busier than others and not everyone has a consistent schedule, but don't let that be another excuse. Create a relaxing bedtime routine that tells your mind and body that it is time to go to bed. Take a warm bath or shower, do some light reading or listen to soft music and then hop into your comfortable bed. Avoid watching TV or checking your phone since the specific kind of illumination electronics give off can be stimulating and prevent you from settling down.
Stay active during the daylight hours
We all know that daily exercise has many health benefits, and a good night's sleep is one of them. Even 10 minutes of activity can relieve stress, tire your body out, and help allow you to relax. If you don't want to workout, plan to run errands or take a short walk during the day. Being outside during daylight hours can also balance your circadian rhythm for energy during the day and rest at night. While some people find that exercising at night amps up their energy, others find themselves exhausted and ready for bed after a workout. Like so many things, it all depends on the individual.
Take a supplement (or two)
Melatonin, also known as your sleep hormone, is naturally found in the body. Melatonin supplements, in pill or capsule, are a common form of sleep aid for many people however the side effects can include next day drowsiness, headaches, dizziness, and cramps. An alternative method is take supplements that increase your body's ability to produce sufficient levels of melatonin. Besides promoting heart, brain, and lung function, Omega-3 fatty acids also benefits melatonin secretion and helps your body's circadian cycle stay in balance. In addition, Omega-3 fatty acid can help ward off stress and anxiety which are harmful triggers to a restful sleep. Because melatonin is mainly produced in the gastrointestinal tract, probiotics can also be beneficial for those needing more rest. When you have a healthy gut, your body works more effectively and efficiently producing the right kind of hormones during the appropriate time of day. If you are looking for a complete Omega supplement and/or high quality probiotic, Plexus offers both as MegaX and ProBio5. Contact me here for more information.
Limit Caffeine and Alcohol intake
While a cup of coffee may help keep you alert during your afternoon slump, it can keep you up at night too. Some people can feel the effects of caffeine intake up to 10 hours after consumption. The effects are even longer in people that do not metabolize caffeine efficiently. This includes snacks with high levels of caffeine like dark chocolate. Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee in the afternoon, go for some iced water. It will keep you better hydrated and the cold liquid can be a refreshing jolt to your energy.
After a long, strenuous day nothing sounds better to me than a glass of red wine. The effects of alcohol can certainly be relaxing and have a drowsy effect on many, but alcohol is very detrimental to sleeping through the night. A cocktail will help get you to a deep sleep at first, but it also increases the chances of disruptions later through the night. You may find yourself waking up for no reason and have a hard time getting back to sleep. Alcohol also relaxes your muscles which can increase the probability of snoring. This of course leads to restless sleep and less focus the next day.
Making these small changes to your daily routine can have huge benefits to your health!
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I'm a cool mom... or at least I try really hard to be. I have a passion for health and fitness, and I love sharing with the world.