There is not a day that goes by where a colleague, a friend or family member don't complain they’re either exhausted, lacking sleep or too tired to function. I too am guilty of that! Unfortunately, most Canadian run on low-to-empty; and need to pump the brakes on this bad habit we call routine. To lead a healthier you this 2019, we need to satisfy 3 fundamentals - nutrition, physical activity and sleep. These 3 key factors along with weight and stress management all make up a healthy way to start the new year and lay an excellent groundwork for the rest of the year. Continue reading to learn why sleep should be the first area you concentrate on.
Quality and regularity
To improve your sleep, focus on regularity and quality of sleep. Most adults need at least 7 hours of nightly sleep to function and be productive while others need up to 9. Whatever your magic number is, set a regular bedtime that is early enough for you to achieve those hours and commit to them on a nightly basis and wake up at the same time every day.
While the number of hours is important, so is the quality. What you eat and your sleep environment can diminish your sleep quality. Avoid heavy, hard to digest foods and sugary drinks (including alcohol) in the evening. Remove or limit common sleep distractions like TVs, devices, bright and even hot sleeping environment.
Sleep and your body
Healthy sleep keeps your body running like a well-oiled machine. Proper sleep aids the body to maintain healthy body weight, contributes a strong immune system to fight disease and infections such as colds or Type 2 diabetes. Sleep also promotes cellular repair, increases physical performance, reaction time and personal safety keeping you alert to react to your surroundings.
Sleep and your mental wellbeing
Those who prioritize sleep health can make better decisions, are more resilient to emotional rollercoasters, mood swings and have better coping mechanisms. Those lacking quality sleep are prone to feelings of anxiety and depression.
If you’re not convinced by now, proper sleep also keeps your mind as sharp as nails. Sleep increases communication and fosters creativity at work and at school leading to academic and professional success. Long term sleep deprivation on the other hand results in forgetfulness, increased errors and overall poor performance.
If you require professional help to increase your sleep health, speak to your physician. They may have solutions to help pinpoint ongoing problems that prevent you from sleeping well.
Make healthy sleep one of your top priorities for 2019!
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