Getting a good night’s sleep is far more than just a way to feel more energized and pleasant the next day. Along with getting enough exercise, maintaining a good diet, and staying hydrated, sleeps in as important aspect of being healthy and not getting enough can lead to a whole host of problems.
Good quality sleep can help you in a variety of ways. Studies have shown that those who get enough rest suffer from fewer heart related problems such as heart disease and heart attacks. It can also mean that you’re less at risk for diabetes. You might think that it takes years to develop health problems associated with lack of sleep, but a recent study on 10 healthy adults who suffered disturbed sleep patterns showed an increase in their blood glucose levels after only 4 days. (The disturbed sleep patterns were due to shift work). Increased blood glucose levels are one symptom of diabetes.
Injury and chronic pain can both be alleviated by getting enough rest throughout the night. It appears that sleep might just be the supplement (along with your pain medication) that works. As long as you’re sleeping on the right mattress, some of your muscle aches and pains can even disappear by morning. It should also be noted that getting enough sleep might help to prevent injuries in the first place; when you go about your day tired you’re not apt to be as aware as you should be of the hazards around you. Accidents can far more easily happen if your brain is feeling fuzzy and you don’t take notice of your environment. Hazards around the workplace are bad enough, but household accidents can have equally detrimental results. Even if you’re not at risk for an accident, your brain isn’t at its best when sleep deprived. Trying to problem solve and even remember important meetings or key items is a lot harder if you’re tired.
Your emotions may run high when you’re exhausted, and it’s far easier to deal with the challenges of your day when you’re well rested. If you’re tired and all you can think about is crawling back into bed, you may even miss some of the more pleasant aspects of the things around you. Just because you get enough sleep doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically become Miss. Sunshine in the mornings, but you’re much more likely to have a better disposition if your body has had a chance to regulate hormones and emotions overnight.
Along with the other health benefits for your body, getting enough sleep can keep your weight down. There are essentially two parts to this equation. The first part has to do with your hormones. When you aren’t getting enough sleep, your leptin levels drop; leptin is the hormone in your body that helps you feel full. This means that when you’re tired, you’re also more likely to feel hungry and eat, even though you’ve satisfied your calorie count for the day. To add to the problem, most of the time during this type of cycle, we crave foods that are high in fat and calories, meaning that we’re just increasing the problem exponentially. The other part of the problem is that if you’re tired, you’re less likely to get the exercise you need each day. No exercise means no burning off those extra pounds.
So what are the factors that make for a great sleep? There are a few key one that should help you get to dream land a little faster. The first is to keep light to a minimum. Turn off lights around the house, and be sure that you have a way to block light from your windows. Some people even benefit from turning their digital alarm clocks around to face the wall.
Temperature can have a huge impact on the type of sleep you’re getting, and the right temperature can be the difference between a great rest and waking up either sweating or shivering through the night. The general thought is that a cooler room makes for a better sleep environment, so either crack a window slightly, use a fan, or turn the heat down in the house just before you tuck in. Keeping extra blankets on your bed might help too.
Avoid snacking before bed, and avoid drinking too much. It’s awful to wake up from a sound sleep only to realize that you have to leave the comfort of your bed for a cold toilet seat or bathroom floor. Snacking stimulates our digestive systems and can trick your body into thinking that it should be awake. Some foods high in sugar might also trigger your body into wakefulness. Staying hydrated throughout your day and making sure you stick to regular meals will help avoid night time hunger and thirst.
A great mattress and pillow can also make a world of difference in the quality of sleep you enjoy. Get something that allows you and your partner to sleep without bothering the other with night time movement, and that supports your body the way it should to avoid aches and pains.
Having a bedtime routine can also be a great way to get a good night’s rest. With a good and regular bed time routine that you can stick to, your body will recognize by the signs that it’s time to wind down and sleep.
This article was written by Sam Socorro from Steam Shower Store. She has over 10 years’ experience in writing health related topics and specializes in the health benefits of saunas and hydrotherapy.