Sleep can be just as important for your health as diet and exercise. The average adult should get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. How much sleep are you getting?
Insufficient sleep has been linked to heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes, hypertension, mood disorders, obesity, and addictions to drugs and alcohol. Proper sleep, on the other hand, aids in immune function, detoxification, and metabolism. That should make you want to take a nap right now!
Dr. Fuhrman, from the Nutritional Research Foundation, links the rise in chronic diseases with the rise in patients suffering from inadequate sleep. He believes that sleep disorders, such as insomnia and sleep apnea, can be treated with diet, exercise, and sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene – Practices and habits that help maximize the time you spend sleeping. Just like sleep training a baby, it may be helpful to have soothing routines around bed time like a warm bath or reading. (When reading at bedtime, be sure to stick to traditional books or an e-reader that is not back lit. Reading a computer or phone can increase the time it takes to fall asleep since lit screens are stimulating.) Consistently going to bed and waking up the same time each day will also help signal your body when it is time to sleep. Pray before you go to bed to release any anxious thoughts.
“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” – Psalm 127:2
Sleep is so powerful; see what else it can do:
- Lessen pain – Enough sleep may reduce both acute and chronic pain. Research has found that sleep can supplement medication for pain.
- Increase your mood – You are less likely to be short-tempered and cranky when you have gotten enough sleep. Proper beauty sleep can also help you emotionally handle challenges as they arise throughout the day.
- Reduce the risk of injury – Many major disasters have later been associated with sleep deprivation. Even small cuts in the kitchen are more likely to occur if you are overly tired.
- Give you better brain power – You will actually have better problem-solving ability and a stronger memory with a good night of sleep.
- Help with weight control – Let’s face it, if you are overly tired, you are less likely to get out and exercise. In addition, the hormone leptin, which makes you feel full, drops when you don't get enough shut eye. A drop in leptin will make you feel hungrier with stronger cravings.
- Stronger immunity – Eight plus hours of sleep a night was shown to decrease the chance of getting the cold virus.
In an effort to increase your health, don't just focus on prepping all your healthy meals and keeping up with your gym schedule. Be sure to get adequate shut eye as well. As with all areas of your health, let God be involved. Release your worry to Him, pray for better sleep, and thank Him in advance for a restful night.
“Take my yolk upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:29