A large emphasis is placed on daily exercise and a consistent diet for overall health but there is another category that is often overlooked - sleep.
Poor sleep even after just one night can begin to impact mood, metabolic function, endocrine function, cognition and exercise performance. Studies have shown long term sleep loss can cause a whole host of chronic issues like increased instances of heart attack and stroke. So what are some things we can do to support sleep quality at night?
Be consistent with a sleep schedule. Studies have looked at irregular sleeping patterns and reports of poor sleep quality. An inconsistent wake and sleep schedule could impact the bodies circadian rhythm impacting long term sleep quality.
Set up a good sleep environment. This might be obvious to some but a hot, bright, and noisy room can cause discomfit and distractions that will lead to frequent waking. Around 70˚F room temperature is frequently referenced for a comfortable sleep environment but stick to personal preference.
Get some heat. Taking a hot bath around 90 minutes before bed was shown to improve sleep quality. This can allow for enough time for the core body temperature to cool down and relax before bedtime.
Reduce exposure to blue light and tech. Exposure to bright blue light is great for the daytime as it can be a signal alertness and the circadian rhythm. At night it is the opposite thing the body wants to trigger nighttime and sleep. Smart phones, TV's, and computers emit a large amount of blue light. Social media is highly stimulating and can be addictive leaving the mind running when trying to fall asleep.
Limit drinking alcohol. There really isn't a good scenario for alcohol and sleep. It impacts sleep patterns, circadian rhythm and sleep hormones. Although alcohol can seem relaxing many studies have shown negative impacts on overall sleep quality.
All in all try to shoot for 8 hours of sleep on average. Everyone is different and you may require more or less to be truly optimal and wake up refreshed and ready for the next day.
-Fuel your path
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.