Sleeping your way to health

Most of us don’t realize the true value that sleep can have on our bodies and minds and the majority of us don’t get enough of it. While for some of us this is due to suffering from a sleep disorder such as insomnia, others just stay up too late and have commitments which require us to get up early. Getting enough quality sleep is essential to getting us through our day but also for our overall health.
One of the biggest things that lack of sleep has on our bodies is our hormones; various hormones in our body work together and have an effect on our health. When we suffer from lack of sleep we begin to crave more carbohydrates and sugar, our blood sugar levels will also fluctuate. If we don’t get enough sleep it can cause problems with out adrenal glands, the adrenal glands regulate your body’s health, when our adrenal glands start suffering, and we start to suffer.
One of the main problems being an increase in hormone cortisol, cortisol helps us to resist stress, maintain our blood pressure and our moods are dependant on it. However if there is an increase in cortisol then it can cause adverse reactions within our body and is not good for us.
So what can we do to ensure that we get enough sleep? Here are some tips to help
 Avoid eating before going to bed – if possible do not eat after 7pm, the later you eat the less time your body has to digest food before you go to bed. Instead of resting your body will spend all night digesting the food you ate. Also going to bed on a full stomach will lead to you feeling uncomfortable and tossing and turning all night long.
 Get enough exercise throughout the day – if you aren’t getting enough exercise throughout the day then you aren’t going to be tired. Getting regular exercise not only gets you fitter but also helps you to get a good nights rest.
 Dim your lights – just as the sun streaming through your window first thing in the morning starts your day off by energizing you, dimming your lights at night can encourage your body to slow down and unwind.
 Buy a suitable mattress – if you are having trouble getting comfortable at night in bed then consider buying a new mattress, if your mattress is
old and worn this could be the reason you are tossing and turning all night.
 Have a schedule and keep to it – develop a healthy internal clock by getting yourself into a routine. Get up at the same time every morning and go to bed at the same time.
 Avoid taking naps – where possible stay awake and don’t take a nap during the day, taking a nap during the day confuses your internal clock and you are not as tired when it comes to going to bed.
 Keep your bedroom relaxed – avoid turning your bedroom into an office, don’t put a desk or computer in there and be tempted to work. If you have work in there you are more than likely going to thinking of the things you have done or should have done and this can keep you awake.
 A hot drink – try winding down with a hot drink before going to bed, of course give this time to go through your body before lying down for the night, otherwise you will awaken with the need to go to the bathroom. Preferably make cocoa with hot milk but avoid coffee and tea.

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