Counting sheep, white noise machines, hypnosis. People will try just about anything to get a good night’s sleep! And with good reason. Sleep has incredible physical and emotional benefits, providing the foundation for many of the body’s essential functions.
Sleep is involved in the healing and repair of the heart and blood vessels. Our hormones are regulated during sleep, including hunger hormones, which can cause us to feel hungry when they are disrupted by a lack of sleep. The brain uses the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep to sort important information and file long-term memory. Without enough sleep, it can be difficult to concentrate and remain alert. Getting enough sleep also provides a mood boost, and research has shown that a chronic lack of sleep can increase the chance of having a mood disorder.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, adults should aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. Setting and maintaining a consistent bedtime schedule (on weekdays and weekends) can help with achieving your sleep goal. Limiting screen time, taking a warm bath or setting aside some time before bed for quiet activities such as meditation or reading a book can help you ease into sleep. Some people take naps as a way to help make up for lost sleep, however, napping doesn’t provide all of the restorative health benefits of nighttime sleep.
Getting enough sleep each night is essential for protecting our physical health, mental health and quality of life. Sleep deficiency has been linked to serious health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and depression. Because sleep plays such a crucial role in our overall health and well being, prioritizing consistent, quality sleep is an important habit to develop. So lie back, relax and snooze your way to a healthier you!