Everyone knows how essential proper nutrition and exercise are to overall health and well-being. But, what about sleep? It tends to be an afterthought in today's hustling and bustling world. Yet, sleep plays an equally important role in maintaining your physical and mental health.
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) says that over 40 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder and more than 60% of adults report having trouble sleeping a few nights a week. That means that you, or people you know and love, are compromising their health on a regular basis.
Some effects of too little sleep:
- More susceptible to becoming sick
- Problems with memory and attention
- Weight gain
- Increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease
- Skin health suffers, leading to more acne or wrinkles
- Increased stress leading to a misaligned spine (back pain, neck pain, headaches)
On the flip side, getting the proper amount of sleep each night will curb inflammation, increase memory, sharpen attention, help maintain a healthy weight, lower stress, fight off depression, and help maintain a strong and healthy spine, back, and neck.
There are several things you can do to improve the quality and quantity of sleep you get each night. Try to go bed at the same time each night, even on the weekends, to get your body on a schedule. Avoid caffeinated beverages and food in the evening because digestion is an active process that can interrupt the natural sleep process. Try to reduce stress and anxiety by leaving work at the office, avoiding arguments, and turning off the t.v. a few hours before bed. Also, exercise is an effective tool for promoting physical tiredness which will help aid in falling asleep faster. Implementing a few of these tips will help you reach the NSF's recommended 7 - 9 hours of sleep for adults aged 18 - 64.
Chronic sleep deprivation can take a toll on your physical and mental health, but if you start improving your sleep habits today, you will see an improvement in your health in about a week.