Friday, March 20, 2015

Adequate Rest

Americans are too busy. We’re constantly on the go, busy doing something or other. Some of us pride ourselves on the fact that (we think) we can get by on so little sleep.

But our bodies need sleep! Ideally, we should get 7 - 9 hours sleep each night for optimum health.

“A one-hour loss of sleep decreases the immune system by 20% the next day!” Dr. Adrian denBoer

That’s extremely significant, especially when fighting an illness or during flu season.

Some of the Many Benefits of Sleep
Strengthens Immune System
Improves Memory
Reduces Inflammation within the Body
Good for Heart Health
Improves Stamina
Improves Learning
Lowers Stress
Lifts Your Mood

Tips for Better Sleep
Have a bedtime routine and stick to it! Dim the lights 1/2 hour before bed, read a book, play soft music, eat some fruit, do some light stretching - whatever it is that you do, do it consistently every night so your body knows it's time to wind down.

Go to bed (and get up) at the same time every day.

Sleep in a dark, cool room. Even using the dimmer switch on your lights before bedtime can signal your body that it's time to think about relaxing. And keeping it cool (not freezing!) helps your body to rest.

Try not to eat within 3 hours prior to going to bed, especially anything heavy, sugary or caffeinated! The rumors about crazy dreams after that meatball hoagie are all true!

Light stretching can help you relax without the high impact of exercise that will make it hard for you to sleep.

Put your devices aside an hour before going to bed. (Not easy!) But the blue light from them signal your body that it's still daytime. And the ding from the email notifications will be too much to resist checking one last time. (I'm preaching to myself here!)

Keep your bedroom clutter free so it's a relaxing and peaceful place to be. Hang up the wet towels, put away the clothes, bring the dirty dishes to the kitchen and dust the furniture! If your bedroom is clean, you'll enjoy being there and rest will come easier.

As with food, sleep habits and patterns vary from person to person. What works for one might not work for another. Experiment and see what works best for you.

There is so much written about sleep, why we need it and how to get better quality, but I just wanted to give you something to think about. Here are three excellent articles for further reading if you’re interested.

8 Ways to Achieve Consistent, Restful SleepDr. Adrian denBoer (My amazing doctor!)
Why People Who Sleep Longer Achieve More, Michael Hyatt

What ways have you found are helpful to get a good night’s rest?

Read my previous post: Food Focus: Walnuts
Read my next post: Slow Down