To Sleep or Not To Sleep
Let’s be honest, we have all fallen prey to the trap of being so busy and consumed with our day that we forget how important sleep is to our health and overall wellness. Getting the right amount of sleep has several health benefits but is sleep a priority for us? The question may be asked amid a crunch time or right before a dreading deadline, to sleep or not to sleep?
We will answer this question by showing some of the health benefits of sleeping and what lack of sleep does to the body as well as give you some tips on healthy habits to prepare for a restful night.
Benefits of Having Enough Sleep
The optimal amount of sleep, not too little or too much, is said to be between 7-9 hours for an average adult. Having the optimal amount of sleep may reduce risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease. Lack of sleep might diminish our antioxidant levels and weaken our immune systems. Studies suggest that intake of fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants such as cherries, raspberries, and kiwifruit can help replenish nutrients lost during times of stress or sleep deprivation.
To help you ward off illnesses, your immune system identifies harmful bacteria and viruses in your body and destroys them. Ongoing lack of sleep changes the way your immune cells work. They may not attack as quickly, and you could get sick more often. Good nightly rest now can help you avoid that tired, worn-out feeling, as well as spending days in bed as your body tries to recover.
When you're well-rested, you're less hungry. Being sleep-deprived messes with the hormones in your brain that control appetite.
Getting enough sleep also boosts your mood, sharpen your brain and helps in weight control. So now we have to decide how important sleep actually is to us. Do we make time for rest? Do we prepare for it or do we just go with the flow?
Disadvantages of Not Having Enough Sleep
A lack of sleep at night can make you cranky the next day. And over time, missing out on sleep can alter more than just your morning mood. Studies show that getting quality sleep on a regular basis can help improve many issues, from your blood sugar to your workouts.
Getting enough sleep can lead to a healthier heart. While you sleep, your blood pressure goes down, giving your heart and blood vessels a bit of a rest. The less sleep you get, the longer your blood pressure stays up during a 24-hour cycle. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease, including stroke.
Here are 10 Healthy habits for a restful night:
Increase bright light exposure during the day
Reduce blue light exposure during the night
Do not consume caffeine late in the day
Reduce irregular or long day time naps
Try to sleep and wake at consistent times
Optimize your bedroom environment
Set your bedroom temperature
Don’t eat late in the evening
Take a relaxing bath or shower
Get a comfortable bed, mattress and pillow
Now that you’ve learned a bit more about the benefits of sleeping, ensure to make it a priority to get your optimal amount of rest.
Learn more about healthy habits and other wellness programs offered by Wellness Workdays.
Written by: Mahalia Lounges, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern