Many people do not realize the importance of sleep in order to be healthy. Most of us sleep less and work more because of our busy lives. Studies have proven that depriving our bodies of adequate sleep can diminish our longevity and our quality of life.
Furthermore, lack of sleep can cause problems such as:
- Hormonal imbalance
- Premature aging
- Increasing and severity of Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Memory lapses
- Many other health problems
Here are 12 ways to improve sleep and health:
- Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day and even on weekends. This will help you fall asleep faster and you will wake up more easily in the morning.
- Sleep in complete darkness as much as possible. When light comes into contact with you eyes, this perturbs the circadian rhythm of the pineal gland and the production of melatonin and serotonin which in turn take away from the quality of your restful night.
- Avoid eating right before going to bed so that your digestion does not interfere with your sleep. In fact, eating cereal or sugar before bed can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can create a feeling of hunger and trouble your rest.
- Wear socks to bed. Blood circulation in the feet is not as good as in other parts of the body. This might cause cold feet.
- You can write down your worries before going to bed. This can free your mind in order to find sleep more easily.
- Eating a snack that is high in protein a few hours before going to bed can increase the melatonin and serotonin production (sleep hormones). Better yet, have this snack with fruit.
- Take sleeping medication only when absolutely necessary.
- Avoid caffeine and energy drinks before bed because these can have long term effects on the nervous system.
- Avoid alcohol. Even if it can cause drowsiness, this effect is usually a short term one. You could wake up and be unable to fall asleep again.
- If you are a person who wakes up to go to the washroom during the night, avoid drinking 2 hours before going to bed.
- Take a shower or a hot bath 30 to 60 minutes before bed. Heat has a relaxing effect.
- Sleep in a comfortable bed. If your mattress is noisy, sagging, or you wake up with a back ache, it might be time to change it. Your chiropractor can help you determine the type of mattress that is better suited to your needs.