Enjoy this post from my colleague Cheryl Conklin at Wellness Central:
There can be physical, mental and emotional consequences to sleep deprivation. If you struggle with getting enough sleep, not only do you have increased risks of gaining weight and developing illnesses and diseases, you likely go through your day feeling tired, irritable, unfocused and unproductive. Plus, you may experience mood swings, and the most important relationships in your life may be suffering.
Sleep is an essential aspect of living well and fulfilling your potential, and you can start taking steps today to turn your sleep habits around. This article will discuss some of the most important factors involved in healthy sleep.
Piedmont Healthcare explains sleep has a connection to food. It’s generally harder to sleep well if you eat particular foods during the day, such as acidic and high-fat foods, or if you eat right before turning in for the evening. Plan to eat a healthy, balanced diet from breakfast to dinner, and you can see results in your sleep cycle. Of course, eating healthy improves other areas of your health as well, such as weight loss. If you’re having trouble keeping the weight off, connect with Heather to get clear on what it will take to get on track, stay consistent and reach your goals.
Also, following an exercise routine can help you sleep better, because it temporarily speeds up your metabolism and provides more energy for the day, which means you will be more tired after burning that energy by bedtime. However, try not to exercise in the evening, as this can make it difficult to fall asleep. Opt for a morning or afternoon workout.
How you prepare your body and mind for sleep also has a lot to do with how quickly you fall asleep and how long you stay asleep. For instance, watching TV or using your computer, smartphone or tablet can disrupt your sleep cycle. Harvard Health Publishing explains this is because the blue light emitted from electronic screens can impede the production of melatonin—a critical hormone in aiding sleep.
Instead of bringing your electronic device with you to bed, try reading a book by a low-lit lamp. Other ways to help prepare yourself for sleep are things like taking a warm bath, listening to soothing music and sipping some herbal tea an hour or two before bed.
It’s also important to go to bed at a set time every night – including on weekends. Although staying up late during your days off may seem enticing, doing so can actually work against your sleep schedule throughout the rest of the week. So, pick a bedtime (one that gives you the right amount of sleep you need) and stick to it.
Finally, make sure your bedroom promotes sleep. Along with eliminating electronic screens, consider replacing harsh light bulbs with soft or dimmable bulbs. Also, keep the temperature between 60 and 67 degrees at nighttime, and mitigate extraneous noise as much as possible. Finally, as with all other rooms in the home, make sure your bedroom is kept clean and decluttered, which can also create space for more positive energy.
Your physical, mental and emotional health and well-being depend heavily on the quality and quantity of sleep you enjoy. Make sure you practice self-care each day, and tailor your nighttime routine and environment to promote sleep. Making these simple changes can help you live life to the fullest.