Sleep (and 7 Ways to Make Sure You Get Enough of It)
Small, smart lifestyle changes can add up to big health benefits. You know, Rome wasn’t built in a day, a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, and all that. Another great thing about small changes is that they are easy to make. If you make just one small change a day, you can enjoy an entirely new and amazing life and incredible health at the end of one short year … 365 transformative changes later.
Rest is one area where many of us are deficient, yet it is the foundation for everything else we do to improve our health.
Adults should get between 7 and 8 hours of restful sleep every night. But most people in today’s fast paced, fast food, plugged-in society do not sleep properly. These 7 simple sleep-improving steps will put you on a quick path to better fitness, more energy and a healthier lifestyle. Putting them into play just one a day means one short week to the benefits of proper sleep.
Improved sleep/rest can aid in a myriad of ways – sleep can aid your body in recovery from exercise. Better sleep habits can reduce cravings for sugar and other junk foods, it can boost metabolism due to the body’s ability to repair damage and can enhance your overall feeling if well-being.
1 – Limit Your Intake of Sleep-Affecting Chemicals
For 4 to 6 hours before bedtime, avoid caffeine and nicotine found in coffee, chocolate, tea, sodas, cigarettes and some medicines. You will just get jacked up, find it hard to rest, sleep restlessly, and then be tired when you have to awaken.
You might think alcohol can help you sleep. But only a couple of hours after drinking, alcohol actually stimulates you. This means you may fall asleep, and then sleep poorly. There are other dangers of drinking, and limiting your alcoholic intake to 1 or 2 drinks per day makes sense for a lot of reasons.
2 – Drink Lots of Water, but Not Much at Night
Water flushes your system of dangerous toxins and other chemical poisons. But you need to limit its “heading to the bathroom” effect at night. Beginning a couple of hours before you are scheduled to nod off, limit (or even eliminate) your water and liquid intake. You will experience fewer “gotta go” sleep disruptions.
3 – Develop a Regular Sleep Schedule
Your body and mind combine to make a perfectly programmable, goal-seeking creation. After you tell your mind what your body is going to do on a set schedule, in a very short time, your brain takes over and creates an automatic, unconscious habit.
Better quality sleep, more day time energy and a better level of fitness are delivered with a regular sleep schedule. And it only takes 3 to 4 weeks of sticking very closely to a specific waking and sleeping routine for your restful sleep to be automatically delivered on a nightly basis.
4 – Enjoy a Nap Earlier in the Day If Need Be
Napping is a healthy way to promote a properly operating metabolism and natural energy throughout the day. Just make sure you do not take a nap after 5 PM, or your sleep could suffer. You may find it hard to fall asleep when you nap later in the day, and accordingly, difficult to wake up at the appointed time.
5 – Shine the Light
Sunlight taught primitive humans when they should be sleeping, and when they should be active. Then humans learned how to create their own light. Artificial light is certainly a powerful and wonderful invention. But it can negatively affect your natural, healthy sleep cycle.
So use it properly. As soon as you wake up, illuminate your surroundings. And when you are ready to go to sleep, limit the number of lights, including electronic displays, in your sleep environment.
6 – Exercise Early in the Day
Exercise produces cortisol. This hormone keeps you alert and responsive, and is part of our hardwired “fight or flight” response system which also causes stress. Exercise actually supports good sleep patterns, and ongoing energy throughout the day. Just do not exercise late in the evening, or your elevated energy level could negatively affect the quality of your sleep.
7 – Give It Time
You did not fall into poor sleep habits overnight. It will take time to change your bad habits into good ones. So do not criticize yourself if making these changes takes a little while. All good things come to those who wait, and take proper action. Keep working at these 7 simple steps for improving the quality of your sleep, and your overall health will benefit.
Would you like another way to improve your fitness and natural energy level? Learning to control stress can make a huge impact.
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