6 Tips For Better Sleep

We live in a fast-paced world. This generally means from time-to-time we will be forced to cut our sleep by various amounts of time. In other words, some days we just won’t get enough sleep. Sleep is vital for our bodies to charge during the night so that we can be ready to take on all of the days activities. If sleep deprivation becomes a recurring habit, we risk many bad side-effects. Some of these include:

  •  Increased amounts of the hormone ghrelin (makes you hungry), and decreased amounts of leptin (makes you feel full).1
  • Make poorer food choices during the day.2
    • Our body will crave carbohydrates and fats to replace the energy deficit from the lack of sleep. Additionally, your brain will increase it’s short-term reward center of the brain, and decrease motivation (read willpower).
  • Impair cognitive function making certain tasks, especially those requiring coordination, to become more difficult.3
  • Impair memory: the process that converts short-term memories to long-term memories occurs during sleep. Insufficient sleep disrupts this process, causing you to become more forgetful.3
  • Decreased desire to be physically active throughout the day (due to lower energy levels), and impaired physical performance.

To ensure your body functions properly throughout the day, follow these tips for better sleep (from the National Sleep Foundation4):

Have a sleep schedule.

    • Go to sleep at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time everyday. This routine will help get your body accustomed to when it should be sleepy, and when it is time to wake up.

Avoid the TV or cell phone within 30 minutes of going to sleep.

    • Studies have shown that the light emitted from these screens affects our body’s ability to fall asleep.

 Exercise!

    • When you exercise your core temperature increases. As this starts to drop your body release melatonin, or the sleep-inducing chemical in your body.

 Set your thermostat to a cooler temperature at night.

    • For similar reasons as above, it is easier to fall asleep in cooler temperatures.

 Limit caffeine intake starting in the early afternoon.

    • Caffeine is a stimulant, which will affect your body’s ability to fall asleep later in the evening. Cut out caffeine beginning in the early afternoon to ensure that it is completely out of your system by the time bedtime comes around.

Do some reading before bed.

    • Many of us have experienced the phenomenon when we get into bed, and our mind begins to race. We start to think about big projects coming up, or deadlines we have to meet. Maybe we are just thinking about everything we have to get done the next day. This can cause us to be anxious, and keep us from falling asleep. Doing a little bit of reading before bed will help keep our minds at ease until we begin to doze off.

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