These days, everyone is on a health journey. And that is fantastic! I love it! I am all about eating healthy and breaking a sweat. But it seems that those are the 2 main focuses when it comes to health–nutrition and exercise. And while those two aspects are key players in the healthy living game, there are many other factors playing a role including sleep (and stress, that’s a BIG one!). When you are setting health goals for yourself, how often are you concerned with how many hours of sleep you are getting?
What takes precedence in your journey to a healthier lifestyle? My guess is either nutrition or fitness.
Maybe I’m getting you to think about focusing on sleep now. Or maybe you’re thinking, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” But if you are feeling stuck in your health journey and you are asking yourself, “Why have I hit this plateau if I’m eating right and exercising?” then perhaps consider this for a moment: “Am I getting good sleep?” Granted, maybe you just need to change up your exercise routine. But don’t let your sleep fall by the wayside.
Poor sleep quality can have some seriously negative effects including weight gain. Lack of sleep can reduce mental and physical performance, as well as, disrupt appetite hormones (increasing cravings and making you hungry). Studies have shown the obesity epidemic parallels the trend in reduced sleep duration (Sleep and Obesity).
And it’s not enough to just get enough sleep. Quality of sleep is just as important!
What to do, what to do?
- Create a sleep routine
- Set a bedtime and stop use of all electronics at least 1/2 hour before bedtime
- Prep for the next day by laying out clothes, packing lunch, packing bag, etc
- Take time to relax before bed by reading, stretching, doing some breathing exercises, taking a bath, etc
- Try to have the same bedtime every night
- Remove distractions that may interrupt your sleep–put your phone on silent (even leave it in another room or flip it over so that if it lights up, you won’t wake up), don’t let your pet sleep in your bed with you
- If you drink coffee or anything caffeinated throughout the day, stop! Your last bit of caffeine should be at least 7 hours (more is bettter) before bedtime
The benefits of plenty of good quality sleep include:
- maintaining a healthy weight
- getting sick less often
- lowering your risk of health conditions such as diabetes
- reducing stress
- improving mood
- thinking more clearly
- improving mental and physical performance
Don’t believe me? Check out these links for more information on getting good quality sleep!