Amerian culture does not value sleep.
Sleep is an important part of a healthful lifestyle. While you are sleeping, your immune system works to repair damage and clean up cellular messes in the organs. The nervous system mends while memories are being formed during dream time.
Research has shown that inadequate sleep puts you at risk for diabetes (and it’s complications), obesity, cardiovascular disease, and early death. Some studies have found that even one night of poor sleep (less than 6 hours of sleep) increases insulin resistance.
Poor sleep can increase levels of your appetite-stimulating hormone (ghrelin), stimulate the production of your stress hormone (cortisol) and decrease glucose tolerance. It is optimal to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
Tips to Improve Sleep:
- Quiet time: Spend a half-hour with meditation, prayer, relaxing music or other quiet time prior to bedtime.
- Routine: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (even the weekends).
- Self-talk: Tell yourself, “I’ve done all I can for today. I will do the rest another day. Now it’s time to sleep.”
- Sunshine: Sunshine promotes sleep by causing the body to produce melatonin (which helps the body with sleep).
- Activity: Get in some physical movement during the day, so your body will be tired when it’s time to sleep.
- Environment: Set up an environment conducive for sleep – have a comfortable bed, dark room comfortable temperature and quiet.
Things to Avoid at Night:
- Vigorous exercise: Vigorous exercise revs you up. It can be good for the daytime, so you are bedtime. Stretching or yoga work better at night.
- Intake: Avoid a large meal before bedtime, which can cause heartburn. Avoid drinking a large amount of liquid before bedtime, which can wake you up during the night to urinate.
- Alcohol/Caffeine/Nicotine: Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants. Alcohol keeps your body in a light stage of sleep and prevents deep sleep required for healing.
- Technology: Technology will stimulate your brain and can make it difficult to fall asleep.