Healthy sleep may just be the easiest step to take for your healthy new lifestyle. I look forward to that wonderful hour when I can close my eyes and rest, don''t you? Healthy sleep is the way your body and brain recharge to get ready for the next day. Your body is at rest, but your brain is active and your other organs are using this time to repair themselves.
Adults require 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, but did you know that consistently missing one hour a night can make you less alert and responsive over time as your sleep deficit builds up. Your performance at work or school may suffer, and your reaction times definitely slow down. How do you think that would affect your driving?
Teens and children need about 9 hours of sleep per night. Any less may show up as behavior problems or poor performance in school.
Infants need about 16 hours of sleep per day. A morning and afternoon nap, plus all night sleep usually fills the need.
So how can you get more healthy sleep? Here are a few tips:
Go to bed at the same time every night. I know, this is not always easy to do in our busy lives, but keep it as a goal in mind and work you way toward a workable bedtime.
Get up at the same time every day. I know this too, is not easy to do. Who doesn''t want to sleep in on their day off? But sleeping in will interfere with your going to sleep the next night and you''ll continue this cycle of not getting enough sleep.
Have a nighttime routine. This signals your brain that you''re winding down and it''s time to relax. Whether it''s reading or doing a crossword puzzle or listening to quiet music, find the thing that will help you keep still and relax.
Keep your room dark and quiet. It is easier to do this at night of course. There are ways to do this if you work shifts and sleep during the day.
Avoid physical activity at night. Exercise or physical labor will keep you awake for hours, as your body temperature rises and your metabolism is up. Your body will not know it''s time to sleep.
Avoid coffee or other stimulants for at least 6 hours before bedtime.
Sleep is affected by what you put in your body. Remember Ebenezer Scrooge, when he saw Marley''s ghost, said he must be a bit of undigested beef, or some other thing Scrooge had eaten that was bothering him? Even Charles Dickens knew then that what we take in can affect us greatly, waking or sleeping.
You will be better off overall if you are careful about what you put into your body, whether caffeine, alcohol or some other substance. These are all ways to be healthy. Sleep is one of the most important and easiest parts of your healthy lifestyle. So get out there and get some good ZZZZZZZZZzs.
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