The importance of sleep as part of a healthy lifestyle

Everyone knows how it feels to wake up after not getting enough sleep—the grogginess, heaviness, and even the beginnings of a possible headache. It’s not fun, but improper and insufficient sleep is more than just an annoyance. If it’s something that happens more often than not, it’s unhealthy.

Getting sufficient, quality sleep can be very beneficial to your health. Being well rested not only makes you feel good, but it also serves your body in other ways. We’ve often been told to get plenty of rest when we are sick;  but did you know that “plenty of rest” can be part of the efforts to keep from getting sick? So, just how important is sleep to a healthy lifestyle? Very important and most people aren’t getting sufficient amounts of it.

We live in a world that doesn’t values productivity over rest

Often, rest is not as valued as much as productivity. We  are used to getting up early to work and staying up late to play. And while life—work, kids, travel, and so much more—requires you to sacrifice some sleep occasionally, that cost can become a bad habit of sleep poorly.

According to a 2016 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 1 in 3 American adults don’t get enough sleep. That’s a great number of friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and us running on not enough sleep, which can’t be too healthy!

And, according to the Sleep Foundation, most adults require between 7-9 hours of sleep per night to stay healthy. This amount will help ensure your brain is functioning, and that your body is ready to tackle the day. So, if you have to get up in the morning at 6 AM and you’re staying up until midnight watching television, then you’re not getting the sleep you need.

The benefits of sleep

When you get a good night’s sleep or you can stay in bed on a Saturday morning, you feel pretty amazing. You might not need as much coffee that morning or naturally have enough energy to tackle all those errands you’ve been putting off. But getting enough sleep is about more than just being able to cut back on caffeine.

Specifically, proper sleep has been linked to a healthy weight, reduced risk for diabetes and heart disease, less stress, improved moods, better decision-making skills, better interpersonal skills, and improved cognitive function. Sleep can improve your health.

Tips to get a better night’s sleep

Even if you get ready to go to bed at 10 PM when you have to wake by 6 AM, you might issues—trouble falling or staying asleep, the need to go to the bathroom, thirst, or any of the other dozens of ways sleep can be disrupted. So, what can you do?

First, eliminate distractions before you go to sleep. Stay off your phone and television for 30 minutes before you sleep. Instead, read a book, get ready for bed, and set a glass of water on your nightstand in case you get thirsty in the night.

Next, try a supplement like melatonin, valerian root, or even magnesium to reduce stress to help you sleep better.

Finally, make sure you don’t have any caffeine or other stimulant too close to bedtime.

Sleep can change your life, especially your health. Not only can proper sleep keep you from getting sick and improve your immune system and overall physical health, but it can also improve your mental health. So, try some of our tips and maybe start heading to bed a little earlier. Trust us, your body will thank you.