Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our health and I would argue and one of the most neglected. If we were to simplify the categories that are important to pay attention to regarding our health and wellness, I would say the three most important categories are nutrition, sleep and activity. If you neglect one of these three pillars you will guarantee your-self failure. If you sleep well and eat well but don't have enough activity, there will be problems. If you exercise and eat well but don't sleep well, there will be problems. And if you sleep well and exercise well but don't eat properly there will also be problems.
Why is sleep so important?
There are many reasons why sleep is one of the most important aspects of our health and wellness. One of these is that this is when our body is in the most anabolic state, meaning that the body rebuilds tissue during this time. This is important for everything including rebuilding the cells in our organs, regenerating energy throughout our body, as well as rebuilding muscle and connective tissue.
How much sleep do we need?
This seems to vary mostly depending upon age, with secondary factors including, lifestyle and individual variations. The consistent trend is for younger people to have more sleep and less as you age with adult and elderly recommendations between 7 to 9 hours. This is according to the National Sleep Foundation. It also matters when you sleep, mainly lining this up with your circadian rhythm which involves your body temperature and melatonin production, a natural sleep hormone.
What can affect my quality of sleep?
This can be many factors including, room temperature, noise and light exposure. The temperature is most often recommended to have slightly cooler temperature than you would have throughout the rest of your house. I myself find 67 degrees to be the right number for my bedroom at night. You want to limit loud noises and sounds, which seems obvious because these can become a immediate disruptor. This is especially true when coming intermittently throughout your sleep and can startle you awake increasing cortisol levels, a stress hormone. Light exposure can also be an important factor where studies have shown blue light exposure in the evening can limit melatonin production. This makes it increasingly hard to sleep at night and may have other health implications since melatonin is an important antioxidant and helps with immune function.
Are there any quick and easy solutions?
I have found that a room air conditioner can help solve the temperature problem and give you control to the exact degree of how you want your room temperature to be set. Limiting noise can be something as simple as adjusting your overall environment and or using ear plugs or possibly a white noise device to block other potential noises that may disrupt your sleep. Avoiding light exposure can be done with blackout shades are great but can sometimes be a little pricey. A sleep mask can be an inexpensive fix, but sometimes these can be slightly uncomfortable. You can also use Lights Out Travel Light Blockers for those little annoying lights, such as on stereos, room air conditioners or alarm clocks.
So, make sure that you prioritize your sleep because it is an important pillar of good health and wellness. Also, make sure to manage the factors that you can control to optimize your sleep including the temperature, noise and light exposure and have a restful night sleep!
Author : Jordan Proudfoot
Here are my thoughts and insights into fitness and wellness to be the best you possible.