We used to think it was perfectly ok, even admirable, when successful people claimed they needed only four to six hours of sleep per night to be super productive the next day.
These days we’ve discovered something very different. We’ve learned that sleep is actually the secret weapon of highly successful, healthy people. Sleep has become the new No. 1 priority and is even listed as one of the top 10 wellness trends of 2019.
We now know that none of us can be our most productive without good sleep. We’re also recognizing that when we stay up late scrolling through social media or watching Netflix in bed, we usually feel pretty lousy the next day – amiright?
So, in addition to proper nutrition and exercise, good sleep is considered one of the pillars of health.
We simply cannot achieve optimal health without enough sleep. All the good nutrition and consistent exercise will not make up for inadequate amounts of sleep.
Why do so many of us take good care of our bodies but at the end of the day, cheat ourselves on a good night’s rest?
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
Research shows that most adults function optimally after 7 -9 hours of sleep per night.
But why is sleep so important? What exactly does a good night’s rest do for us? Read on to learn just some of the benefits of those all-important Z’s
- Most importantly, sleep repairs and restores our bodies like nothing else can
- It helps control body weight Issues; studies show sleep-deprived people tend to eat more calories
- It Improves concentration and productivity
- Contributes to maximized athletic performance
- Our immune function increases and inflammation decreases
- Lowers our risk of heart disease, stroke, depression and type 2 diabetes
- Reduces stress – a good night’s sleep can help lower blood pressure and elevated levels of stress hormones, which are a natural result of today’s fast-paced lifestyle
Make it your daily goal to turn the lights off at least 7 hours before you plan to wake up in the morning. Follow these tips to help improve the quality of your sleep:
Establish a regular bedtime routine.
This can be brushing your teeth, washing your face, or reading for a few minutes. Meditating or praying is a great bedtime ritual. Try to avoid heavy conversations and emotional activities before bed. Make it a rule not to bring your problems to bed with you. You need a calm brain for quality sleep. A hot bath or shower before bed can help too.
Cut caffeine after 2 p.m.
Skip the temptation for that late afternoon java buzz. Your body is naturally winding down so while caffeine would definitely perk you up, it could linger long after: six hours later it’s still in your body.
Drop The Temperature.
Overheating is a major sleep disruptor. Research shows that 65 degrees is the best temperature for a good night’s rest. So set your thermostat, choose a lighter blanket, crack open the window or use a fan to help keep your sleep area cool.
Ditch your devices
Ditch your devices before bed. There are many downsides to scrolling through your social media before bed including the light that is emitted from your screen. If you can’t cut the habit completely, at least dim the light on your devices until you can ease yourself off one hundred percent. Charles H. Samuels, M.D. believes the more important issue is the inner activity and interaction our devices cause. So do your best to avoid the screen at least an hour before bed.
Create a Mindfulness Routine.
Combine light stretching with breathing exercises to aid in relaxing and calming your body. Breathe in an out: inhale for a count of four; exhale for a count of five to six. Try yoganidra relaxation: curl toes tightly for a count of seven then relax. Repeat through each muscle group working your way up your body.
It’s time to make sleep a priority.