According to The Sleep Foundation, when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, sleep is as important as diet and exercise. While a good diet and exercise are often associated with a healthy lifestyle, studies show that lack of sleep can impact one’s mind and body to an extent that might surprise you.
These three pillars of healthy living are actually interconnected: regular exercise makes it easier to fall asleep and leads to a more restful night, but lack of sleep can cause a decrease in appetite-regulating hormones and make you more likely to overeat.
Other immediate physical impacts of sleep deprivation include a temporary increase in blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and a lack of balance and coordination. Lack of sleep can have a large impact on your mental health, as well, including trouble concentrating, mood changes, and memory issues.
Furthermore, long-term sleep deprivation can have even more serious effects on your body and mind. Studies at Hopkins Medicine concluded that a regular lack of sleep puts you at an almost three times greater risk for diabetes and increases the risk of long-term high blood pressure issues, heart disease, and dementia. Long-term sleep deprivation also increases your chances of developing depression or anxiety and can age your brain 3-5 years.
The good news is that these effects can be avoided by simply sleeping enough! For most people, this means getting anywhere from 7-9 hours every night. However, we’re all different and some may need more or less sleep. You may need only 6 hours to recharge your brain while your roommate needs 10.
Need help with getting your daily dose? Below are some great tips for creating a sleep routine that keeps you energized and strong!
1. Stay away from screens for at least an hour before bedtime.
This practice can be difficult since we spend so much time on our phones these days, but it’s so important. The blue light that our devices emit actually signals to our brains to stay awake. Read a book, write in your journal, or listen to some calming music instead.
2. Go to sleep every night and wake up every morning at around the same time.
Yes, even on weekends. Varying your sleep clock too much causes confusion for your body, while following a normal sleep schedule will help achieve deeper, uninterrupted sleep.
Regularly working out can help you fall asleep faster because it relaxes your body. Try yoga, cycling, weight lifting, or dancing - whatever gets you moving. Just make sure not to exercise right before going to bed, as it will make you more energized.
4. Don’t nap.
While naps might make you more energized during day, they mess with your circadian rhythm and can keep you from falling asleep later.
5. Create a healthy sleep environment.
Everyone has their own unique, optimal sleeping conditions. Do you sleep better when you’re warm or cool? Do you like white noise or silence? Do you sleep in absolute darkness or do you prefer a little light? To get the best sleep, make sure your optimal conditions are in place: create an environment that helps you relax with comfy sheets and an environment that relaxes you.
What are your tips and tricks for getting better sleep? Let us know in the comments!