My New Years Resolution – Sleep!
With the dawn of a new year, most of us have thoughts of making positive changes in our lives. But few think of getting more sleep. Sleep is one of the four pillars of optimal health, and more and more research is highlighting its importance as part of a healthy lifestyle regimen.
According to a recent article in the Deseret News, there are four ways in which sleep can have a negative effect on your mental and physical health:
- Sleep recharges the brain
- Lack of Sleep can lead to weight gain
- Bad sleep habits have been linked to anxiety and depression
- Long-term sleep deprivation can lead to serious conditions like heart disease
So how to do you know if you are getting enough sleep?
In an informative info-graphic, produced by the US National Healthy Sleep Project, it outlines 5 telltale signs that you may not be getting enough sleep:
- You start to doze off when you are driving
- You are forgetful and make mistakes
- You feel fatigued or lack energy
- You are irritable, grouchy or lose your temper easily
- You rely on caffeine to get through the day
There are, of course, lots of medical reasons why you may not be sleeping well but those aside, here are 3 simple steps you can make that may well improve your sleep:
1. Reduce your exposure to artificial light
Artificial light interferes with our body’s circadian rhythm and so disrupts our sleep. There are 5 ways we can reduce our artificial light exposure:
- Avoid using your computer for 2 hours before going to bed.
- Put blackout shades up in your bedroom to make it pitch black.
- Cover your digital alarm clock or use an analog clock.
- Disconnect all digital devices that give off of light.
- If you cannot do these things for any reason, try wearing a sleep mask.
2. Don’t be too full or too hungry when you go to bed
For most eating a light supper is a good plan, especially for those who have digestive issues. While for people who suffer with low blood sugar episodes or hypoglycemia having a small snack before going to bed is a good idea.
3. Go to bed earlier
When we are asleep this allows our body time to repair and restore our tissues. The most optimal time for this to happen is between 11pm and 3am. So going to bed by 10pm is a good plan.
I hope you found these ideas useful. More importantly, I hope you do something with them.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.