Most of us don’t think of sleep as actively doing something, so we don’t plan it. But when you put it in your calendar, you give it the same importance and prioritize it like you do your gym time and work meetings.
Make sure your room is at a reasonable temperature, and avoid caffeine five or more hours before hitting the sack.
The you need varies according to age, but according to the CDC, more than a third of North American adults are sleep-deprived. It’s become a public health problem – and whether due to health issues like sleep apnea, or lifestyle factors like work hours or having young kids, or simply because you can’t NOT Facebook before bed, it takes a toll on your brain’s ability to function. One study of chronic insomniacs showed they had smaller, less dense brains than people who were well-rested.
A few more reasons you should schedule sleep:
- You’ll make better decisions. Being tired has been shown to increase risk-taking behavior. Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine says deprivation likely had a hand in the infamous nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the space shuttle Challenger explosion, among others.
- It’s good for your heart. Lack of sleep can be a heartbreaker, potentially causing long-term effects on your cardiovascular health, including your risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
- Beauty rest is a thing. Your skin suffers the effects of sleepless nights, so get to bed, princess!
- Wink, wink, nudge nudge. Sex hormones were as much as 10 to 15 percent lower in those who get less than five hours’ rest per night, says one study. Research has also linked sleep apnea with low testosterone in men.
- You’ll be a cold-and-flu-fighting machine. Getting adequate shut-eye increases your immunity, and improves your resistance to the cold virus. In addition, if you’ve recently had a vaccine, sleep improves the vaccine’s effectiveness.
So there you have it. Make a sched for bed and reap the multiple healthy benefits! Trouble sleeping? We can help you with that.
Good luck! A new (and well-rested) you in the new year starts right here.
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