Studies show that a third of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. That’s 1 in 3 people that are getting less than seven hours of valuable snooze time. Therefore, they put themselves at risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and other issues. Most people know that they should be eating right, exercising, or not smoking…but they tend to put sleep on a back burner, thinking it’s not as important. Little do they know, sleep has a huge impact on your health. There are a lot of great reasons why sleep is important. It helps improve memory. During a restful sleep you go through a process called consolidation. This actually strengthens memories and allows you to practice the skills you learned while you were awake. Sleeping has great anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is linked to stroke, heart disease, arthritis and premature aging. Sleep also plays a huge roll in your emotional regulations. As we all know, when you are overtired or exhausted, you are more likely to be snappy, easily upset, or even start laughing uncontrollably.
My favorite reason to get a good nights rest is that you have better control over your weight. When you're fatigued, there are good chances that you will not want to cook a healthy dinner when you get home, or hit the gym. Also, when you don’t get enough sleep your leptin levels lower and you feel hungrier. Leptin is a hormone that makes you feel full. This makes you crave those high fat comfort foods!
So, how do we ensure we are getting seven hours of peaceful slumber? Going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning will get your body in a healthy bed time routine. Disconnect from television, cell phones, and your computer at least one hour before bed, instead try reading a book before bed. Regular exercise improves insomnia symptoms. The more you exercise, the more sleep benefits. Lastly, avoid any caffeine or alcohol before bed. While a night cap may help you relax, it actually interrupts your sleep cycle. The more liquid you consume before bed, the more often you will have to get up to go to the restroom!