Health Habits: Catch Those Zzzs
How many hours of sleep do you get every night? Are you getting enough or could you use more sleep? Do you suffer from insomnia or wake up feeling exhausted? Do you notice a correlation between your sleep habits and how you feel? Sleep plays an important role in our health and well-being. The link between sleep and health is still being studied. What is known about sleep is plenty to ensure that we are doing everything possible to get plenty of sleep.
It is not unusual to have a few bad nights of sleep here and there. When lack of sleep becomes a chronic condition is when health issues arise. One may start to gain weight, see an increase in blood pressure, increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and obesity, and a decrease in the body’s ability to fight off illnesses. The body does some amazing things while we are asleep. The learning that we do during the day is solidified with a solid night’s sleep. Our brain commits new information to memory in a process called memory consolidation. Sleep also affects our ability to concentrate, which can affect safety especially for those with dangerous jobs. The body also creates cytokines which helps to reduce infection and inflammation while we sleep. Without it, our bodies can’t fight against the things that may harm our bodies.
Aside from seeking out help from a medical professional if you’re suffering from chronic sleep deprivation, you can do a few things in the home to try to increase the quality and quantity of sleep.
Tidy up your sleeping quarters. Do you have piles of clothes and clutter in your bedroom or on your floor? Don’t have a place to put them? Find some decorative and functional crates, baskets or containers to store your clothes neatly.
Put away the electronics. Not only are they distractions from sleep, they can suppress the release of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. The inhibition of melatonin production makes it harder to fall asleep. Place as many of your electronic devices in another room if possible.
Invest in a diffuser and some quality essential oils. Quality diffusers may provide calming white noise to fall asleep to. Find a favorite scent or mixtures to fall asleep to. Lavender, chamomile, vetiver and ylang ylang are a few well-known sleepy time oils. If you have health issues and/or are on medications seek out the advice of your physician before introducing oils to your sleep regimen.
Establish a bedtime routine. Set a time every night that you can wind down with a warm bath or a good book. This will help your body recognize that it is bedtime.
This week’s health habit: assess your sleep habits and introduce some new sleep-inducing tactics.