Ask Away...: If You Prioritize One Thing This Fall, Make It A Good Night's Sleep

Monday, September 5, 2016

If You Prioritize One Thing This Fall, Make It A Good Night's Sleep

We all know that we need to drink more water and eat more fruit and vegetables to be healthier. But have you thought about the impact of all those late nights or early wake-up calls? When the seasons change, we tend to make pledges to make our lives that little bit better. If you prioritize one thing this fall, make sure it’s a good night’s sleep.

Why is sleep so important?
If you think about it, your body is on the go from the moment you wake up in the morning. You drag yourself out of bed, get dressed, and make breakfast. Before you’ve even been awake for an hour, you could have done a number of tasks and even started work. For the next twelve hours or so, you’ll be on the move, and your brain will be processing a wealth of information. When you hit the hay, this gives your body and mind a chance to take time out and recover. Obviously, the body doesn’t just shut down. But things move at a slower pace. While you sleep, important processes take place, which allows your muscles, organs and blood vessels to heal. Your body undergoes important repair work, and your brain makes sense of the day’s events. Sleep is also essential for regulating hormone levels, which have an impact on your mood.

What happens when you miss out on sleep?
In the short-term, you’ll probably feel tired and grumpy. You may find that you’re more susceptible to coughs and colds, and you take longer to shake off minor illnesses. Most of us can battle through the next couple of days after a sleepless night. The problem comes when sleep deprivation is a long-term issue. If you don’t sleep well on a regular basis, this can have serious implications for your health. If you’re sleep-deprived, you have a higher risk of depression, heart disease, kidney disease, and strokes.

How can I get a better night’s sleep?
There are lots of things you can try to try and improve sleep quality. Your sleep pattern is really important. If you go to bed late every day, your body gets used to this. Try and make sure you get at least six hours of sleep per night, every night. Go up to bed and get up at the same time each day. Your body clock will adjust, and you’ll start to feel tired as bedtime approaches. Make sure your room is dark and quiet. If you have noisy neighbors, invest in some ear plugs. It’s worth paying for a quality mattress and pillows, which offer support for your head and neck. If you toss and turn, or you have back pain, check out Emily Porter’s blog for pillow recommendations. Take a trip to a bed store and try some beds for size. Avoid taking laptops, phones, and tablets to bed with you.

We often underestimate the importance of sleep. You may feel fine if you haven’t had enough sleep, but this doesn’t mean all is well inside your body. Missing out on sleep puts you at risk of severe illnesses. If you do struggle to sleep, try switching up your sleep routine and making changes in your bedroom. If you’re still having problems, see your doctor.

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