With the busy lives we lead, sleep may get pushed to the back burner or moved to the bottom of our “to-do” list. When it comes down to it, we all need a good night’s sleep to feel rejuvenated, energized, and ready to take on those crazy busy days. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the recommended amount of sleep each night is between seven to nine hours. The average American typically sleeps around six to seven hours each night. So, why is sleep so important, and how can we get more of it?
Getting enough sleep…
- Helps us concentrate and prepares our brain to learn and accept as much information as possible.
- Improves our overall health and decreases the risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, stroke, and depression.
- Supports mental and physical health by reducing anxiety and stress levels.
- Provides us with the needed energy to live productive lives.
How can we get more sleep?
- Cut the caffeine – since caffeine is a stimulant, it should be limited close to bed time. Keep in mind that caffeine is not only in coffee and tea! Caffeine sneaks its way into foods like chocolate, soda, some protein bars, or ice cream and yogurt (think “coffee” ice cream/yogurt).
- Forgo the fat – we are all about consuming healthy fats such as those found in avocados, oils, nuts, and seeds, but, meals high in saturated fat could lead to indigestion and heartburn, which negatively affect your sleep.
- Skip the sugar – by simply reducing our sugar intake, we can have a more sound sleep with less awakenings during the night.
- Decrease the drinks – adequate daily hydration is important! Try to drink the majority of your fluids during the day, because a full bladder before bed could disrupt your sleep.
- Partake in physical activity – being physically active each day can help prepare your body for a restful sleep.
- Revamp your routine – start a relaxation routine before bedtime to begin winding down.
Nutrition and sleep are definitely related. By making small changes to our daily diet and sleep routine, we can have a better night’s sleep and be prepared for all life throws at us.
How do you make sure you get enough sleep each night?