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Why Is Sleep Important?
When it comes to maintaining good health, we often forget that sleep is just as important as eating right and exercising often.
The Center for Disease Control states that adults need at least 7 hours a night for optimal health and well-being. Sleep takes up about a third of our daily life and gives you the energy needed to power through your days.
Nowadays, we’ve become far too busy to stop and rest. It feels like there is too much to do and 24 hours a day is not enough. With all the technology available to us, it’s hard to put away the smartphone and close our eyes.
Let’s talk about what happens when you don’t get enough sleep and what you have to gain from getting a better night’s sleep.
Disadvantages to Poor Sleep
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body feels the effects almost immediately.
According to studies, you experience negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance, and brain function from lack of sleep.
Lack of sleep can increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and mental distress in adults and children.
It can also lead to weight gain as there are studies showing that poor sleep leads to more carb cravings and consumption during the day. Since poor sleep negatively affects your hormones, it may slow down your metabolism and dampen your motivation to exercise.
Staying up late might seem like a good choice at the time, but it can have serious consequences in the long run.
Next, we’ll talk about what could happen when you improve your sleep quality.
Benefits of Good Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep consistently can significantly change your life in ways you didn’t think it could.
Studies have shown that getting enough sleep can improve your cognition, concentration, and mental performance. In both children and adults, good sleep can also improve problem-solving skills and memory.
More sleep can also help you improve your physical and athletic performance as well as improve your immune system and strengthen your body against disease.
If you’re trying to lose weight, getting better sleep can also help you eat fewer calories as sleep maintains and regulates your appetite hormones. When you’re getting enough sleep, you have a smaller appetite and consume fewer calories than people who are sleep-deprived.
There are many benefits to getting a good night’s sleep, and you feel the positive effects almost immediately.
If you want to start feeling the benefits of better sleep or you have been suffering through poor sleep, we’ll talk about what you can do to start sleeping better tonight.
How To Get BETTER Sleep
If you’re waking up in the morning feeling exhausted and groggy, you’re probably not getting enough good sleep at night. There are many factors in our life that affect how well we sleep and a few ways we can improve it such as:
- Reducing blue light exposure
- Drinking less caffeine
- Improving your sleeping area
- Sleeping and waking at consistent hours
- Taking a melatonin supplement
We’ll talk about these several ways you can improve the quality of your sleep and start feeling the benefits in your everyday life.
Reduce Blue Light Exposure
What is Blue Light? Blue light is the blue wavelengths that are emitted from the type of light source used. They are commonly used in electronics with screens to be more energy-efficient and boost attention and mood.
Blue light is helpful during the day, however, it can be disruptive to your circadian rhythm (your biological clock) at night.
When exposed to light, your circadian rhythm reminds your body to stay alert and awake during daytime. But when you’re constantly exposed to bright light, especially blue light, at nighttime, your body will continue believing it’s daytime.
Blue light can trick your brain into thinking it’s still daytime at night and prevent the production of a sleep-inducing hormone called melatonin.
By reducing blue light exposure at night, your brain can produce more melatonin to help you relax and fall asleep faster.
Some ways to reduce blue light exposure include:
- Stop using your phone up to two hours before bed
- Install an app on your phone or laptop to block blue light
- Wear blue-light blocking glasses
Reducing your exposure to blue light at night can help you stop staying up late at night and fall asleep faster.
Drink Less Caffeine
These days, caffeine is commonplace in a lot of beverages such as coffee, tea, and soda. It’s difficult to avoid when you’re being social or going out for a meal.
Caffeine is known to improve focus and mood as well as boost your energy. However, having caffeine later in the day can overstimulate your body, preventing you from relaxing before bed.
Research has shown that ingesting caffeine up to six hours before sleep can significantly reduce sleep quality, leading to difficulty falling asleep and more disturbed sleep cycles.
Try to avoid having caffeine after 3 or 4 p.m. in the afternoon, or switching to decaffeinated coffee, depending on your caffeine sensitivity.
Drinking less caffeine can help your body rest and relax naturally before bed and improve your sleep quality.
Improve Your Sleeping Area
Many people don’t realize that your bedroom environment can greatly affect your quality of sleep at night.
Factors such as temperature, noise, lights, and furniture can cause poor sleep and health issues.
Here are some ways to improve your sleeping area:
- Adjust the bedroom temperature to 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit
- Get blackout curtains to block external light
- Wear earplugs to drown out uncontrollable outside noises
- Invest in more comfortable and supportive pillows and mattress to reduce back and shoulder pain
- Minimize artifical lights from phone chargers, alarm clocks, or monitors
These adjustments to your bedroom environment can help you have less disturbed sleep and help you sleep longer and restfully.
Sleep and Wake at Consistent Hours
Your natural sleep cycle is in line with your body’s circadian rhythm. This means that your body adjusts itself to a set cycle of wakefulness and sleep.
Irregular sleep patterns, such as waking up early and sleeping in on the weekends, can constantly disrupt your circadian rhythm and melatonin levels. This make sit difficult for your body to fall asleep and stay asleep, leading to poor sleep quality.
This means you should try going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning, even on weekends.
Your circadian rhythm will be able to adjust easily and eventually, you won’t need an alarm clock to wake you up in the morning. You’ll be able to benefit from having a more restful and longer sleep.
Take a Melatonin Supplement
Melatonin is an important hormone that your brain secretes to help you relax and fall asleep. It’s often used in sleep aids to treat people who have insomnia or jet lag by aiding your brain in producing more melatonin.
Melatonin supplements are a more affordable and faster way to improve sleep quality. These sleep aid supplements are generally safe and effective to use to help you fall asleep.
We’ve reviewed several sleep aids and melatonin supplements above to help you find the best one to get you sleeping better, longer and feeling more energized in the morning.