Eating Right on a Budget
March 9, 2018
Mind Diet Recipe: Poached Salmon
March 15, 2018

We all know the consequences of too little sleep: we feel tired, sluggish, groggy and it’s hard to concentrate. Whether it’s a regular occurrence or just occasional, lack of sleep can affect anyone at any time. Illness, age, and lifestyle are all factors that can affect our sleep.

Why is sleep so important?

Sleep is important because it’s when our bodies repair and recharge. Think of sleep as your body’s night shift. It’s still on duty, even when you’re dreaming. This is why sleep plays such an important role in our physical health. While sleeping, the body repairs the heart and blood vessels. When brain waves slow down during sleep, breathing, heart rate and blood pressure slow down, too. During the restorative stage of sleep, blood flow moves to our muscles and tissues, repairing them and preparing them for another day.

Lack of sleep has also been linked to weight gain. When we’re feeling drowsy, sluggish or even a little depressed, we tend to reach for more carbohydrates and sugary foods. Our bodies produce more of the stress hormone cortisol, which causes us to store body fat, especially around the middle.

While at certain times in our lives a great night’s sleep just isn’t likely to happen (like becoming a new parent), restful, restorative sleep can be achieved. Check out these tips:

  1. Routine. Try and keep the same bedtime each night. You can practice a relaxing bedtime ritual, like warm milk, gentle yoga, or reading, to signal to your body it’s time to go to sleep. Stay off your phone, laptop screen or anything electronic for at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
  2. No naps. Although it’s tempting because you’re so tired, napping may not be the best thing for you. The more you sleep during the day, the less tired you will be at night. Causing more sleep issues.
  3. Temperature. The ideal temperature for sleeping in between 60 – 67° F. We all have an internal thermostat. The body mildly drops in body temperature when we sleep. If the room becomes too uncomfortably hot (or cold) it will cause you to wake up. Sleep experts recommend keeping your bedroom like a cave: cool, dark and quiet.
  4. Exercise. Exercise may reduce sleep issues by reducing anxiety and depression. Both are factors that can affect sleep.
  5. Noise. Do your best to eliminate noises at nighttime when you’re sleeping. If your partner snores, try earplugs. White noise machines also work well to drown out ambient noises that may keep you awake, like car traffic, televisions or your neighbor’s barking dog.
  6. Mattress matters. Comfort is a major factor in our overall sleep quality. The average age for a mattress is 9 – 10 years. If your mattress has lumps or is uneven, make certain you replace or even upgrade your mattress. Don’t forget pillows. Pillows trap allergens that may make you congested or stuffy at night. Frequently wash pillows or replace them (about every 6 months).

Remember, sleep plays an important role in your physical health. While better sleep may not be the answer to all health problems, sleep can help us feel better which definitely leads to better health choices like eating right, staying active and mentally feeling in tip-top shape!

The blog is written by Lisa Dawson, the Director of Marketing at The Colony ER Hospital.

Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on The Colony Emergency Room Hospital or any one of our concierge-level, freestanding emergency facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.