Everyone has made at least one resolution at the beginning of the New Year, and many of them have experienced discouragement when they fail to keep those resolutions. Whether you want to eat healthier or exercise more, quality sleep can help you achieve your goals for the New Year. In order for this to happen, however, you have to make sleep a higher priority.
Why Sleep Is So Important
Sleep is crucial to your wellbeing. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Anything less, you’re at a higher risk of becoming sleep deprived (1). If you’re currently experiencing any of these symptoms, chances are, you’re not getting the rest you need (2).
- Trouble focusing
- Weight gain
- Recurring sickness
3 Ways Sleep Benefits Your Health
Not only does sleep deprivation make you feel tired, but it can increase your chances of gaining weight and developing a serious medical condition like cardiovascular disease or diabetes—making it all the more important to get adequate sleep every night. Here are three ways a good night’s sleep encourages a healthy lifestyle:
1. Improves your mental health. When you’re not well rested, you typically have a harder time focusing during the day, which can affect your mood and your memory. It doesn’t stop there though. These symptoms, when prolonged, can lead to serious health conditions like depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s disease (3). By making sleep a priority, you are helping your body release those stress hormones and reducing the likelihood of burnout (4).
2. Promotes healthier eating habits. Sleep deprivation has been linked to increased appetite as well as higher calorie intake, which can result in weight gain and even obesity.6 In fact, studies have shown that when you get fewer than four hours of sleep you are 73 percent more likely to become overweight (5). But when you get sufficient sleep, you typically have an easier time fighting those food cravings and maintaining a well-balanced diet (6).
3. Strengthens your immune system. Many people can relate to feeling rundown as a result of sleep deprivation. This is because inadequate sleep can affect the function of your immune system, increasing your chances of getting the common cold (7). When you get plenty of rest, you are helping your body fight those harmful viruses and bacteria (8).
5 Tips to Get Better Sleep Tonight
No matter how well you’re sleeping, there’s always room for improvement. Here are five ways you can achieve better sleep right now:
1. Establish a sleep routine. The busier life gets, the less likely you are to get the rest you need. Before you get too comfortable, take a step back and look at your schedule. Then you can decide an appropriate bedtime based on when you need to wake up the next morning. Stay true to this schedule as much as possible, even on the weekends. By doing so, you will have an easier time falling asleep—and staying asleep (9).
2. Enhance your sleep environment. Do what you can to enable you to sleep adequately. This means ensuring your bedroom is relaxing and as sleep-inducing as possible. Comfortable beds positioned at the right angle, alongside quality linens and pillows that provide the right level of support are key when it comes to resting well at night (10). At Malouf, we have everything you need for a great night’s sleep. Check out our full range of products at maloufsleep.com.
3. Avoid long naps. While napping has proven to have significant health benefits, taking several naps for long periods of time can dramatically decrease the quality of your sleep and can even disturb your sleep routine. If you find yourself desperate for an energy boost, try a healthy alternative like exercising for a few minutes each day, or eating a snack high in protein and fiber (11).
4. Exercise every day. Exercise helps promote deep sleep, which can boost your mental health, strengthen your immune system, and improve your overall health. Additionally, regular exercise can ease the symptoms of severe sleep disorders like insomnia (12). With busy schedules, it can seem difficult or almost impossible to find time to exercise, but a little exercise is better than none. Look at your schedule and designate a 10-to-30-minute time slot when you can squeeze in a light workout.
5. Put down the electronics.Technology is part of your day-to-day life, and it’s easy to find yourself checking your email or Facebook right before bedtime. As useful as technology can be, it has the tendency to keep you awake into the night and disrupt your sleep-wake cycle. To help you achieve better sleep, take care of your emails, reply to your text messages, and check Facebook well before your bedtime (13). You also might consider silencing your device to eliminate the sounds of those late-night notifications.
Ultimately, you know your body best and which of these practices will benefit you most. See what areas you are doing well in and what areas you could improve. As you make sleep a higher priority, you will find yourself feeling more refreshed every morning and living a healthier life as a result.
1. How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?
2. What’s to Know About Sleep Deprivation?
3. Why Lack of Sleep is Bad for Your Health
4.Burnout Prevention and Treatment
5.The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time
6. 7 Ways Sleep Can Help You Lose Weight
7. Lack of Sleep: Can It Make You Sick?
8. Cold and Flu: Prevention and Treatment
9. Health Sleep Tips
13. Electronics in the Bedroom: Why It’s Necessary to Turn Off Before You Tuck In