The Power of Sleep
Sleep: We all need it, but 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough of it. When life gets busy it seems like sleep is the easiest thing for people to cut out. However, sleep deprivation has major consequences on both your physical and mental health. Getting the recommended 7-9 hours per night is crucial to a healthy lifestyle. The exact amount you need within this range is unique to your body. Some people can run on 7 hours of sleep and feel great while other need a solid 8 hours. Find your sweet spot and stick to it.
While amount of time asleep is important, your sleep routine may be equally so. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day has been shown to play a large role in increasing alertness and feelings of restfulness. It may take some trial and error to find what sleep schedule works best for you, but once you do, it will have a huge impact on how you feel daily.
Benefits of Getting Enough Sleep
Improves exercise performance. It’s much easier to head to the gym when you are properly rested. You will also have a more productive workout. Science has shown that sleep deprivation negatively impacts performance and decreases the chance that a person will engage in physical activity. Exercising also improves sleep quality and duration, so it’s a win-win!
Keeps your appetite hormones in check. Two hormones that regulate your appetite are leptin (decreases hunger) and ghrelin (increases hunger). When you’re tired, these hormones stimulate feelings of hunger and cravings for carbohydrate-rich foods. This leads to snacking on unhealthy food and overeating.
Fights weight gain. When well rested, you have more energy to sustain a healthy lifestyle through exercise, diet, and a higher metabolic rate. Results have also shown that sleep deprivation leads to a lower metabolic rate. This means that your body is slower to break down food to turn it into energy, burning fewer calories.
Improves learning and memory.
Tips for Better Sleep
Relax before bed. Take the time to listen to music, read a book, or write in a journal. Choose activities that will help you wind down from the long day. You deserve this!
Avoid caffeine after 2 pm. The half-life for caffeine is 5-6 hours. If you drink a cup of coffee that has 95 mg of caffeine at 2 pm, there is still 47.5 mg left in your body at 7/8pm. By bedtime it could still be in your bloodstream, making it harder to fall asleep.
Stay away from screens (television, computers, phones, etc.) one hour before bed. The blue light from screens suppresses melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. Screen time also stimulates your brain, keeping your mind active long after you’ve checked your email and social media.
Avoid eating large meals or heavy snacks 2-3 hours prior to sleeping. This allows your body to properly digest your food, preventing heartburn and insomnia.
1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. (2016, February 16). Retrieved February 29, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html.
Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency. (n.d.). Retrieved February 29, 2020, from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency.