You may sacrifice a few hours here and a few hours there, but when skimping on sleep becomes a regular part of your routine, your overall health can begin to seriously suffer from it. Those recommended eight hours a night don’t just help you to have the energy to get through your day, but they can keep you from being in an agitated mood, having a short attention span with which to focus on your tasks and activities and believe it or not, a proper amount of sleep plays a huge role in controlling your food cravings!
If you are in search of some reasons that are a bit more “scientific” to justify catching more shut-eye each night, consider that a lack of sleep can compromise your immune system, cause inflammation and even damage your genes! (according to this article from Experience Life magazine.) In addition, you could experience memory loss, loss of hearing and even decreased sexual function.
An occasional all-nighter or severely delayed bedtime may not seem harmful, but over time, every choice that we make adds up to become pieces of a bigger picture. You may even be dealing with specific health issues right now that could be improved with just a little more, good-quality sleep.
Some fabulous tips to transform you from night owl to Sleeping Beauty:
- Establish a bedtime and wake time for yourself and stick to that schedule the best that you can. Your body’s natural rhythms will adapt to this, making it easier to get a good night’s rest.
- Power down your electronics an hour or two before bed. If you need to keep your mind busy, read a book or listen to calming music.
- Prioritize your To Do list so that you complete the things you need to and worry less about whatever may not have gotten done. It can be difficult to turn your mind off at night if you are constantly worrying about unfinished tasks.
- On a similar note, set yourself up for success by preparing what you need for the next day before you go to bed. This is especially important for those who get up early in the morning and constantly rush to get out of the house. Lay out your outfit and accessories, pack a lunch and have your grab-and-go breakfast (ex. a superfoods smoothie) ready for easy access in the AM!
- Exercise earlier in the day. Performing intense exercise or physical activity close to your bedtime could make it more difficult to fall asleep. Exercise usually winds you up so make sure that you allow yourself the opportunity to calm down before it’s time to hit the sack.
Not sure if you’re lacking on sleep or getting just the right amount? Start tracking how many hours you sleep each night for a week and throughout the day, record your energy levels and how you’re feeling right when you wake up, after each meal and right before bed. Are you indulging in various sugary treats and foods during your day? Do you feel irritable or very fatigued often? Are your workouts feeling less effective? These are just a few signs that may suggest you need more/better sleep.
After observing yourself for a week, start experimenting with some of the suggestions above, keep tracking your information and observe any improvements.
We all lead busy lives and have many responsibilities, but don’t let that be your EXCUSE for not enjoying the happiest, healthiest life that you can imagine!