Almost everyone knows sleep is crucial for your health. But it really is more important than most people know. You can’t see the changes that your body goes through when you do not get enough sleep even just one night, but you probably feel it and do not realize it! Not getting enough sleep can lead to a change in the production and efficiency of your hormones, which is much worse than it sounds! Hormones control a majority of your body. Hormones tell you if you are hungry, full, anxious, or happy, they help your body recover or it can be so extreme that it signals your body to say “No, we didn’t charge up enough last night, so let's crave some carbs for energy to keep us up, but store the extra energy as fat incase we need it later!” Not getting enough sleep can literally prevent fat burn, give you a foggy brain and so much more. Below are some easy tips from the Sleep Foundation to at least help get better quality sleep. And some more tips to help you get 7-9 hours of sleep.
- Avoid Caffeine
- Including coffee, tea, and sodas, are some of the most popular beverages in the world. Some people are tempted to use the caffeine for extra energy to try to overcome daytime sleepiness, but this can cause long-term sleep deprivation. To avoid this, try to avoid it later in the day when it can be a barrier to falling asleep.
- Avoid Alcohol
- Alcohol can make you feel sleepy, so many people people actyually enjoy it before bed. Unfortunately, alcohol affects the brain in ways that can lower sleep quality, so it is actually best to avoid alcohol in the lead-up to bedtime.
- Avoid Smoke
- Smoking has been linked to a variety of sleep problems, including difficulty falling asleep and fragmented sleep.
- Develop an Exercise Routine
- Daily exercise has across-the-board benefits for health. The changes in increase calorie/energy expenditure and body temperature can promote a good sleep. There is a catch though, most experts advise against intense exercise close to bedtime because it may hinder your body’s ability to effectively settle down before sleep.
- Increase Bright Light Exposure During the Day
- Our internal clocks are set with light exposure, and sunlight has the strongest effect. Try to take in daylight by getting outside or opening up windows or blinds to natural light. Getting a dose of daylight early in the day can help normalize your circadian rhythm.
- Create a Bedtime Routine
Try to wind down about 30 minutes before bed. Do some quiet reading, low-impact stretching, listening to soothing music
- Avoid bright light. Bright lights can affect your body’s melatonin production, the hormone that helps you fall asleep!
- Step away from all screens! Screens can keep your brain wired, making it hard to truly wind down. The light from these devices can also suppress your natural production of melatonin. As much as possible, try to disconnect for 30 minutes or more before going to bed.
- Avoid Day Time long naps
- To sleep better at night, it’s important to use caution with naps. If you nap for too long or too late in the day, it can throw off your sleep schedule and make it harder to get to sleep when you want to.
- Try to go to bed and wake up at consistent times
- It’s close to impossible for your body to get accustomed to a healthy sleep routine if you’re constantly waking up at different times. Pick a wake-up time and stick with it, even on weekends or other days when you would otherwise be tempted to sleep in.
Give some of these tips a try to get your body functioning at its best!