“Beauty sleep” isn’t dubbed so without good reason. Sleep is arguably the most important element of a healthy lifestyle. When we don’t sleep well, our brains don’t function properly, and maintaining other healthy habits becomes challenging.
When we are lacking sleep, we often turn to sugary foods, caffeine or anything that will give us an energy boost. This causes a cycle of highs and lows draining our bodies of critical energy. Even when we exercise- without good sleep, we can’t push ourselves hard enough to see the results we want.
Sleep gives our body time to repair important systems, which keep us looking young. Trying to function on only a few hours of sleep increases the aging process, impacts our metabolism, and makes our skin look dull.
While there are people who believe they can function on 4-5 hours of sleep- this is a myth. After years or even months of sleep deprivation, your body and brain suffer damage because they do not have the opportunity to repair themselves. It is important to prioritize achieving 7-8 hours of quality sleep.
To support your sleep goals, try one or two of these to start:
- Turn off the TV, smart phone, iPad or other electronics at least thirty minutes before bed. There is no Facebook post or TV show that is worth losing sleep over, and your mind needs to time to wind down before your head hits the pillow.
- Create a night-time ritual: read a book, practice deep breathing, meditation, or listen to calming music to help you slow down.
- Limit your caffeine intake after 12pm. Consuming caffeine later in the day can make sleep restless.
- Stop eating at least two hours before bed. If your body is digesting while you sleep, you cannot achieve the deep sleep necessary for your body to recover from the day.
- Go to bed and wake up around the same time every day- even on weekends. Try to not to sleep in more than an hour on the weekends than you normally would during the week. Routine sleeping and waking hours make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep until you need to wake up in the morning. Your body begins to know when it needs to shut down.
Make sleep a priority in your schedule- you deserve it. To be your best you must get good sleep every night. Relaxing and sleeping are as important as healthy eating and exercise are to a healthy lifestyle.
Photo: San Blas Islands, Panama