The benefits of a getting enough sleep goes way beyond the importance most of us give it. Adequate sleep plays a key role in healthy lifestyle. It benefits our weight, mind and overall health. According to the most recent Gallup report, we know that it’s important to our healthy yet only 59% of adult Americans reported getting seven or more hours of sleep in a typical night. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Kids and teens need more (8-10 hours/night), while school-aged kids need more like 10-11 hours of sleep each night.
Risks of not getting enough sleep:
Increases your risk for a stroke. According to research, adults who regularly sleep fewer than 6 hours/night had 4 times the risk for stroke.
It can lead to weight gain. Getting 6 hours or less of sleep can cause hormonal changes that increase appetite, leading to poor choices and overeating.
Increased Cancer risk. Lack of sufficient sleep may cause the cancer to grow more aggressively.
May lead to diabetes. Insulin resistance is more common in those who don’t sleep enough.
Stresses the heart. Too little sleep can cause the body to produce more of the chemicals and hormones that lead to heart disease.
Tips to improve quality/duration and falling asleep:
Be careful with your caffeine/alcohol intake. Consuming caffeine after 2 pm and/or having more than 1-2 alcoholic drinks in the evening can interfere with the quality of your sleep.
Dim the lights. Close curtains, dim lights, turn off the TV/computers to get yourself ready for bed.
Take a hot bath. The body temperature change will help you fall asleep faster.
Wear socks to bed. It improves circulation helping you to fall asleep more quickly.
Do light activity in evening. Intense or long exercise in the evening can make it harder to fall asleep.
Turn thermostat down before bed. Ideal sleeping temps is 65 degrees F or lower.
Limit fluids. Drinking a lot of fluid within the 90 minutes before going to sleep can lead to frequent waking to go to the restroom.
Clear your mind. If you’ve had a stressful day take a few minutes before going to bed and jot down your thoughts. Organize and set goals for the next day.