We all know that proper nutrition, supplementation, and regular exercise are the foundation of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But, did you know that getting enough sleep each night is just as important for your health? Let’s talk about some of the facts about sleep quality, along with some tips to help you get a good night’s rest.
Sleep quality and your health. What are the facts?
Nearly 40 percent of Americans get only six hours (or less) of sleep per night. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults (including older adults) get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Sleep quality impacts various factors of overall health and wellness including:
Stress hormone production
Cardiovascular, immune and brain health
Sleep deprivation may impact your weight loss goals, even for those who exercise regularly and maintain a balanced diet. Leptin, a hormone that transmits signals to the brain to regulate appetite control in the body, is dependent on the amount of time we sleep. Those who do not get enough sleep could be more likely to have larger appetites due to a normal drop of leptin in their bodies.
Inadequate sleep can also affect the process of muscle development in our bodies. Anabolic hormones regulate the process of protein degradation (the breakdown of muscle), while catabolic hormones regulate the process of protein synthesis (the building of muscle). Anabolic hormone levels have been shown to increase as a result of poor sleep. Similarly, catabolic hormone levels have been shown to decrease as a result of the same.
Vitamins and supplements that may help with sleep include: multivitamins, melatonin, valerian, 5-HTP, magnesium, and calcium. Please consult with your healthcare provider if you are having trouble sleeping or having trouble sleeping or to discuss sleep disorders.
Here are five tips to help improve sleep quality.
1) Create a sleep routine (yes that means even on weekends).
Practice doing the same tasks each night before you go to bed to promote consistency in your pre-bedtime routine.
Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning.
Consistency is the key! Your body will gradually start to anticipate when it is time to go to sleep and wake up.
2) Create a comfortable and relaxing sleeping environment.
Environment (aka your bedroom), should promote a sense of calmness and coziness. Strive for an arrangement that fosters a good night’s rest, based on your personal preferences.
The area where you fall asleep should be cool (somewhere around 65 degrees F), dark, quiet and free of distractions (i.e. television, computer, phone, etc).
If necessary, try using black out curtains, sleep mask, earplugs, AC unit or a fan to further reduce distractions and/or noise disturbances.
3) Avoid heavy meals and limit fluid intake before bedtime.
Avoid food and drinks high in caffeine like soda and candy bars.
Try not to consume spicy food that may cause heartburn.
4) Maintain an active lifestyle.
According to various research studies, increased physical activity often leads to increased sleep duration.
Sleep experts recommend exercising at least three hours prior to bedtime. Exercising at this time is beneficial because body temperature is related to sleep. The rise and drop of your body temperature may cue your body to begin feeling sleepy.
5) Manage stress daily.
Those who suffer from high stress levels tend to have poor sleep habits.
Try breathing exercises or yoga to help relieve daily stress.
Exercising regularly not only helps you stay physically fit, but is a great way to both relieve stress and improve sleep quality alike.
Put away cell phones and laptops. Discontinue answering emails and messages for at least 30 minutes before bed time.
How will you incorporate some of these tips in your everyday lifestyle to ensure that you get enough Zzz’s and consistently enjoy the many benefits of a good night’s rest?