Sleeping your Way to Better Health

by Michael Scottsdale

in Lifestyle

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Sleep is the body’s way of recuperating. An inadequate amount of rest can negatively impact your physical and mental health, causing you to live a less productive and less vibrant life.

A fresh start to the day has a major impact in living as a high-functioning member of the world.

First, let’s look at some of the rewards of a healthful night of rest.

1. An Increase in Overall Long-Term Health – Numerous studies show links between many deadly diseases and the amount of sleep, or lack thereof, that a person receives, including heart disease, diabetes and even cancer.

2. An Increase in Overall Daily Health – A well-rested person has a much greater chance to fight off “common” maladies like colds and the flu.

3. A Sharper Mind – Restorative sleep allows neurons in the brain to repair themselves. It allows for increased memory, concentration, and alertness while awake. It also leads to an improvement in the functioning of the nervous system, allowing for better hand-eye coordination. A high functioning sleep pattern will also help you avoid depression.

4. A Fitter You – Many studies link obesity to a lack of sleep. During sleep your normal hormonal balance of leptin and ghrelin are maintained and your craving for food is held in check.

Basically, getting a good night’s sleep will help your overall well-being. It permeates every factor in having a high quality of life. If getting more rest helps you to live a longer and more productive life, why wouldn’t you want to take steps to ensure that is the case?

Let’s examine how to get a good night’s rest.

1. A Good Mattress – If you frequently wake up with back or neck pain then you should examine your mattress. It could be that the mattress is simply old and sagging, but it also could be that the mattress or pillow doesn’t suit the specific needs of your body. Experimentation with different firmness and coverings, like an eggshell pad or pillow top, can be ways to maximize your comfort.

2. Making the Bed for Sleep Only – Avoid things like working or eating in bed. Your body can take its cues from various places and events. If you only sleep in your bed then when you attempt to go to sleep at night your body will recognize that it is time for sleep.

3. Set a Schedule – Optimally, your own body clock would wake you up every morning without an alarm. This only occurs when you have a set schedule and the proper amount of sleep. Going to bed and arising at the same time is a key to productive sleep. If you need your alarm to wake up every morning, you should try to get to bed earlier.

4. Avoid Stimulants – Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that keep the body awake. Even in the early afternoon, consuming caffeine can keep you awake at night. Also, late night exercise should be avoided as the body should be winding down, not being stimulated.

5. Eating Specific Foods – Certain types of foods maximize the release of serotonin in your brain and can deliver a better night’s sleep. Eating a light snack with some proteins and carbohydrates within a hour of bed is a good idea. Other foods to include are milk, oatmeal, walnuts, bananas, yogurt and hummus. All of these provide your body with natural and essential nutrients and help you sleep better.

The minimal effort put into getting a good night of sleep and the maximizing effects of having a higher functioning and longer life seem almost too good to be true. It’s not though, allowing your body to rejuvenate itself through productive sleep is essential to your well-being.

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