Sleep: Why you can’t put it on the back burner!
4 Reasons it’s so important and 4 tips for getting your best sleep ever
By: Chiara Shehata
Did you know that when it comes to your health, it’s more important to prioritize sleep over working out? With the busy lives we all have, sleep gets put on back burner too often. Here are some important ways it keeps you healthy, and how you can better chase after those deserved z’s.
- While sleep isn’t a remedy for stress, it can help prevent it. Have you ever Quality sleep allows your brain to process the events of your day, and all your emotions. Without it, you are more susceptible to anxiety-provoking events.
- Sleep keeps your eating in check. According to new studies, people who lose out on sleep have as much as a 24% increase in appetite. These cravings push people to eat more high fat, high carb foods like cookies and pasta. This change in appetite has to do with how hormones are regulated. Sleep influences how hormones like leptin (which tells your body its full) are produced and used. Less sleep means disruption of this system, making you eat more.
- It decreases your risk for hypertension too. Because sleep is a chance for your body to relax and rejuvenate. Chronic lack of sleep affects the cardiopulmonary system because the heart is one of the organs that is most sensitive to change. Since your blood vessels are constantly regenerating after the stress of moving blood 24/7, they benefit the most from sleep and relaxation.
- Sleep boosts your immune system! More sleep prevents you from catching the common cold. Your immune system releases proteins called cytokines that help fight infections, and it works best to do this while you’re sleeping. This means that sleep keeps your immune system alert and ready for anything.
Ready to get some high quality z’s? Try out one or more of these tips to get started!
- Lighting is everything. Try dimming the lights, or using softer lighting a couple hours before you want to fall asleep. Your brain associates dimmer lights with the end of the day, making it easier to fall asleep. If your phone and/or laptop has a night mode, turning it on not only decreases eye fatigue, but it also helps your brain get ready for sleep. The night mode on cell phones removes a lot of the blue light emitted by phones, which allows your brain to relax.
- Nap strategically. If I could give my kindergarten self any piece of advice, it would be to never take nap time for granted. If you’re still a napper (no shame), consider when and how long you’re napping in order to maximize the benefits of sleep. Ideally, you should nap before noon to minimize how it affects your sleeping during the night. Keeping naps less than 25 minutes can also be really helpful so that your body doesn’t get too deep into a sleep cycle, only to be jolted out of it by the sound of your alarm. Waking up during the REM portion of your sleep cycle can leave you groggier than when you first closed your eyes.
- Keep your room cool… Try turning down the heat in your room right before bed. The ideal sleeping temperature is between 60–67 degrees Fahrenheit. You can even use a little fan to keep cool.
- … and take a warm shower. The contrast between the warmth of a shower before bed and the coolness of your room helps your body release L-tryptophan, a protein that can help increase total sleep time, which you KNOW is a good thing.
So what are you waiting for? Get the best sleep of your life!
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