Love Your Sleep
Sleep plays a vital role in good health and wellbeing throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right time can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life and safety. The way you feel while you are awake depends in part on what happens while you are sleeping. So follow along for answers to the question: How does sleep impact health?
During sleep your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health, according to the National Institute of Health. Sleep helps your brain work properly. While you are sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day. Studies have shown that sleep improves learning, problem solving skills, controlling behavior and coping with change.
Sleep also plays an important role in your physical health. For example, sleep is involved in the healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Further, ongoing sleep deficiencies are linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.
5 Tips for Improving Your Sleep
Looking for ways to improve your sleep? Here are a few tips to consider:
- Get more exercise. Getting regular physical activity can greatly improve the quality of your sleep. According to a new study published in the Journal of Mental Health and Physical Activity, getting at least 150 minutes of exercise a week significantly improves a person’s sleep, and makes them feel more alert throughout the day.
- Exercise at the right time day. The timing of your exercise is important. Exercising right before you are planning on going to sleep is not a good idea. However, exercise will help you sleep if done in the morning, afternoon or early evening.
- Watch what you eat and drink. What you eat or drink can also affect your sleep. Any sort of caffeine, sodas or sugar-rich foods are bad food / drink choices before you go to sleep.
- Sleep on a regular schedule. Going to sleep and waking up at similar times each day is important for the sleep cycle.
- Get the temperature right for sleep. While personal preferences vary, the suggested ideal bedroom temperature for sleep is typically between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (as noted on www.sleep.org).
How Much Sleep Do I Need?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep for adults including young adults. Teenagers need more sleep, generally between 8 and 10 hours a night. And young school age children need the most sleep (an average of 9 to 11 hours a night).
There have been scientific studies that show that if an adult gets less than 5 hours of sleep per night, they have a tendency to gain weight. The reason for the weight gain is that sleep helps to maintain a healthy balance of hormones. One of the hormones called ghrelin makes you feel hungry, and leptin makes you feel off balance. With lack of sleep, there is an increase in ghrelin and a decrease in leptin causing a weight gain.
Sleep also affects how your body reacts to insulin. This is the hormone that controls blood sugar. Sleep deprivation causes a higher than normal blood sugar which may increase your risk of diabetes. Your body’s immune system also depends on sleep. Poor sleep can weaken the immune system and make you more susceptible to viral and bacterial infections.