Sleep makes you feel better, but its importance goes way beyond just boosting your mood or banishing under-eye circles. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and can benefit your heart, weight, mind and more.
Wake up! You cannot justify sleeping less than 7 hours a night. Dowsing yourself in coffee every morning may get you through the day, but habitually cutting corners on your sleep means you’re not only blunting health benefits but cutting years off your life.
Health benefits of sleep
- Improves memory
- Live longer
- Curb inflammation
- Spur creativity
- Improve your performance
- Improve your grades
- Sharpen attention
- Controls your weight
- Lower stress
- Avoid accidents
- Keep away from depression
Three simple habits that will improve your sleep
Break your bad habits that are limiting the quality of your sleep. Start by adopting just one of these three simple sustainable habits, and you will find that you start waking up more energized than before.
Sleep better now
Make your bed
This may seem really simple and mundane at least. But by making your bed first thing in the morning, I can guarantee you will end up sleeping better the coming night. Why is this morning habit so important?
By making your bed every morning, you will have completed the first task for the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and encourage you to do another task, and another. Now that one task completed, quickly will become many tasks completed. This of course will decrease your stress levels and help you to find the motivation you need to do the right things in your day. And like it says in this video about making your bed, 'even if you have a bad day, you will get into a bed that is already made, a bed made by you.'
People sleep significantly better and feel more alert during the day if they get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week.
One way exercise may help you sleep is by giving your mood a boost. Exercising regularly helps ease stress, anxiety and depression—all problems that can interfere with getting a restful night’s sleep.
Staying physically active is also crucial for taking charge of your weight. Being overweight increases your risk of developing sleep apnea, a common disorder that leads to little pauses in your breathing while you snooze. These little pauses can stir you from deep sleep into lighter sleep. Repeated throughout the night, they can wreck the quality of your sleep and leave you tired the next day. If you’re overweight and have sleep apnea, losing even a few pounds through regular exercise and healthy eating habits helps improve your slumber.
On the other side of the scale, sleep improves exercise too. Interestingly, the relationship between exercise and sleep is a two-way street. When you get enough sleep, you’re more likely to feel motivated to exercise the next day. In one small study, women with insomnia tended to shorten their workouts after nights when they had trouble dozing off.
Sleep loss may make you feel as if you’re working harder and getting tired sooner during exercise. Plus, if you play sports, sleep loss may throw off your game. On the flip side, getting plenty of sleep might improve your athletic performance. Regular physical activity helps you sleep, and sleeping well helps you stay active. It’s a positive cycle that can enhance your life in multiple ways.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying caffeinated drinks (like coffee or tea), but you should stop drinking them well before the end of the day. Many people find that caffeine consumed after early afternoon causes problems when it’s time to go to bed. At the very least, don’t drink any caffeinated beverages after dinner.
While you should avoid caffeine and other stimulants later in the day, you can benefit from consuming food and beverages that enhance sleep.
It’s long been known that people want to take a nap after eating Thanksgiving dinner because turkey contains tryptophan, an amino acid that induces sleep. Chamomile tea and a hot cup of milk are known insomnia-fighting beverages. Lesser-known sleep-inducing foods include bananas, potatoes, oatmeal and whole-wheat bread.
Certainly avoiding sugar will help you have a more restful nights sleep too, kick the sugar habit today.
Eat. Sleep. Be Happy. Repeat.