One of the most overlooked components of living a healthy lifestyle is sleep. There are times when the noisiness of our minds, what and when we eat, and environments prevent us from having quality sleep. Over 70 million individuals deal with insomnia and/or sleep deprivation which can lead to
· Weight gain
· Negative nutritional habits
· Risk of Chronic Illness
· Risk of accidents, errors, injuries
· Lack of cognitive functioning
· Increased irritability, anxiety, sadness, anger
· Inability to concentrate
· Negative changes in mood
This list is not exhaustive, but as you can see sleep impacts our emotional, mental, and physical well-being just as much as eating healthy and exercising.
Beyond medical issues, insomnia and/or sleep deprivation can also be voluntary. Yes, I said it. Voluntary! What causes this voluntary sleep deprivation? This occurs when we stay up late to complete work, watch tv, or play video games. Bedtime habits such as sleeping with mobile phones, laptops, and tablets in or next to our beds can cause voluntary sleep deprivation. Lack of knowledge about how much sleep is needed, poor sleep hygiene and sleeping environments, and even pets and partners in the bedroom causing disturbances contribute to insomnia.
The feeling of sleepiness is sometimes viewed as a need for fuel. This is a misconception. Sleepiness equals the need for REST. The benefits for getting enough rest include
· Improved immune system
· Heightened alertness, creativity, and focus
· Increased energy
· Improved mood and reduction in anxiety, irritability, and mental exhaustion
· Increased libido (sex drive)
· Rest and recovery for internal organs
· A release of hormones to regulate the control of appetite, stress, growth, body functions, and metabolism
· Memory formation that helps to form and store new memories that are essential to learning new information
The consequences of lack of sleep, and benefits of getting enough sleep have been presented. Now lets discuss how to approach this issue? Here are a few natural remedies to improve sleep habits:
Regulate your body’s clock by developing and maintaining a regular sleep time. Research says that those 18 years and older need approximately 7-9hrs of sleep per night.
Spend an hour before bedtime winding down by doi ng something calming such as taking a relaxing bath and reading book.
Participate in a regular exercise routine
Avoid smoking, alcohol, and eating a heavy meal before bed. If hungry, eat a light snack about 45mins before bedtime.
Improve the bedroom environment by making sure the bedroom is a cool and comfortable temperature (60-67 degrees), and does not have distractions such as light and noise.
As you can see the proper amount of sleep is vital to our health. Do not underestimate the importance of making the proper amount of rest a priority.