Have you ever stopped to consider the importance of sleep as a part of a healthy lifestyle? It is important that you get good sleep on a regular basis; this is when your body does much of it’s necessary repair and maintenance. Let’s look at a few important factors regarding sleep.
When you are getting enough sleep, you will generally wake up refreshed and energized – not having to drag yourself out of bed. If you establish a pattern of consistently good sleep, you may find that you tend to wake up about the same time every day – even without an alarm clock (presuming that you go to bed at the same time every day and that you allow enough sleep time for your body to properly refresh). If you feel like you’re falling asleep while your having breakfast – you’re not there yet!!
Proper sleep will also give your immune system a boost and will put you in a better mood and state of mind. Some people find that when they finally change their lifestyle to allow for a proper amount of sleep that chronic headaches go away. It can also have a positive effect on weight loss, as lack of sleep is another factor that can raise certain hormones that will tend to cause weight gain or impede weight loss.
How long should you sleep? This is different for everyone, but 8 hours is actually a pretty good target. If you fall asleep quickly once you go to bed, you may find that it’s closer to 7½ hours than 8 since we tend to sleep in 1½ hour long sleep cycles, or multiples of 1½ hours. Some people may find that 6 hours works best. You’ll know that you are getting the proper amount of sleep if you awaken refreshed, without having to drag yourself out of bed. You will also find that in times of stress or illness your body will require more sleep – let it! This is also true if you are pushing your exercise or fitness routines to a new level. Getting enough sleep is a very important part of a healthy lifestyle. This is when your body does much of it’s repair work – and in today’s world you need repairing and refreshing! Think of it as a nightly overhaul and tuneup and you may start to think about sleep differently than you do now. You can’t shortcut this and stay in optimal health.
Try to establish regular sleep patterns. This means going to bed and getting up at the same time most every day; strive for this as your goal. Hectic schedules and “the stuff of life” may force occasional exceptions, but try to make them just that. If you can establish a pattern for the time that you typically go to bed and when you get up, you’ll have an easier time falling asleep; this will become part of your body’s’ natural daily rhythm (part of your healthy lifestyle). You may also find that you don’t have the need or desire to “sleep in” on the weekends, because if you establish normal healthy sleep patterns, you’ll tend to wake up the same time every day, feeling rested and refreshed.
More information in Healthy Sleep part 2
Questions, comments, or want to find out more? Leave me a comment below – I’d love to hear from you.