In the first article of this series we started to look at the Lifestyle Practices essential for a healthy lifestyle, and in two we looked at the importance of drinking water. Today we are going to look at lifestyle practice two which is sleep 8 hours nightly.
Being well-rested is one of the most important elements in maintaining a healthy body. Sleep deprivation can cause your body to become tired, fatigued, and run down. This lends its way to an invasion of many infections because of a compromised immune system. Sleep is the body’s best defence, so you need to make sure you obtain what your body needs. Each person requires eight hours of sleep nightly.
Lack of sleep can lead to premature aging, high blood pressure, and increased stress. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. Sleep allows our bodies to repair themselves, recharge and restore. So surely it makes sense to ensure you get enough sleep so you are giving yourself the best chance of good health. Each of the lifestyle practices I’ll be giving you are to help you achieve this. So it’s imperative for you to get at least eight hours of sleep a night. A healthy lifestyle you see isn’t necessary complicated, but it requires you doing the right things on a frequent basis.
Shakespeare described sleep as “the chief nourisher in life’s feast”, acknowledging that for most of us deep rest is necessary for keeping body, mind and spirit in good form.
Many view sleep as a luxury and think that the benefits of limiting the hours they spend asleep outweigh the costs. People often overlook the potential long-term health consequences of insufficient sleep, and the impact that health problems can ultimately have on one’s time and productivity. You can no longer do this because this article is surely making it clear the negative costs to your health of not getting enough sleep.
Many of you try to burn the midnight oil. Only going to bed when you’ve reached the point of exhaustion. Then you grab a few hours of generally restless sleep where your mind is still spinning around trying to make sense of life and the pressures you’re trying to deal with.
We all get 24 hours every day. 8 hours of these need to be spent sleeping. The only way for the human body to get a rest and recharge is through sleep.
I know many of you do try to do this but find yourself getting up multiple times through the night or struggle to full sleep or maybe find yourself waking up at a ridiculously early time and can’t get yourself back to sleep. Bad sleep can cause morning depression, grumpiness, anger, stress and anxiety. In a minute I’ll make some suggestions and try and help you to get a good 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Before hand I just want to reiterate the reasons you need to follow this lifestyle practice.
Why we need sleep
There is an abundance of reasons that you need to sleep soundly for 8 hours a night. I’m not going to give you a huge list of every one of these, but a few examples will illustrate my point of the importance of finding the time for sleep.
Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.
During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health.
Immune system – Without adequate sleep, the immune system becomes weak, and the body becomes more vulnerable to infection and disease.
Growth and development – Growth hormones are released during sleep, and sleep is vital to proper physical and mental development.
Sleep helps you to restore and rejuvenate many body functions.
Inadequate sleep can cause decreases in:
• Reaction Times
• Consolidation of Information Learning
• increases in Memory Lapses
It’s obvious that sleep is beneficial. Even without fully grasping what sleep does for us, we know that going without sleep for too long makes us feel terrible, and that getting a good night’s sleep can make us feel ready to take on the world.
You’ve got to take sleep seriously. Work at getting at least 8 hours of sleep a day! This leads to better mental and physical health. Your body has to have enough time to rest and sleep is vital to good health and to mental and emotional well-being. otherwise you will lack energy and be susceptible to ill health. Hope I’ve got this important message through to you.
Things to do to aid good sleep
Now as I’ve already mentioned its extremely common for people to struggle to fall asleep. Others are waking up multiple times throughout the night. So I want to give you some ideas how to improve your sleep.
Maintain a regular rest and sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning
Avoid caffeine after dinner. This includes coffee, cola, and tea.
Do not eat within 3 hours before bedtime.
Avoid alcohol and nicotine before bedtime. These substances can cause restless sleep.
Do something to unwind before going to bed. You could do a relaxation exercise, read a book, or take a hot bath. Do not play computer games or view over-stimulating videos on the Internet.
Associate bed with sleep. Avoid using the bed as a place for reading, watching TV, eating, or working. There is something else to do in bed but I guess you know what this is.
Don’t stay in bed when wide awake. If sleep does not occur after thirty minutes, get out of bed and engage in a quiet activity such as reading until you are sleepy. Do not watch TV or play computer games.
Avoid taking naps during the day. Some people can take short naps in the middle of the day without a problem. However, for most people naps during the day interfere with sleep at night.
Pay attention to the comfort of your bedroom. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable.
Avoid heavy exercise after dinner. Gentle exercise after dinner, such as a leisurely stroll, may help with sleep. Avoid heavy exercise after dinner, as this may delay sleep. Vigorous exercise, when performed earlier in the day, can help with sleep at night.
Get a comfortable bed. Your bed should allow for ease of movement and provide good body support. This usually means a good-quality, firm mattress that supports the spine and does not allow the body to sink in the middle of the bed.
Keep your hands and feet warm with gloves or socks. For painful knees, it may help to cut the toes off warm stockings and wear the cut sock as sleeves over your knees.
Find a comfortable sleeping position. The best position depends on you and your condition.
Elevate the head of the bed 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm). Do this if you have a problem with breathing, heartburn, or gastric reflux. You can prop sturdy wooden blocks under the bed legs or purchase an adjustable bed to raise your head during sleep.
Keep the room at a comfortable temperature. This may be warm or cool. Each of us requires different conditions to sleep better.
Use a vaporizer if you live where the air is dry. Warm, moist air often makes breathing and sleeping easier. If you prefer cool air at night, use a humidifier.
So that’s it for today.
I don’t know where you are in the world so I’m not telling you to go to bed right now, because it may be morning time. But tonight, make sure you get to bed at a time where you can sleep for 8 good hours and follow the tips I’ve provided to help you ensure its an uninterrupted night.
This is Larry Lewis.
photo credit: Ben-Wells Light & Shadow On The Sheets via photopin (license)
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