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Why Sleep Matters

Welcome back for another #wellnesswednesday! Today's topic is all about the zzz's.

Ahhh sleep. Most love it and probably feel like they can never get enough. (Side note: thank you to whoever started GIFs. They have made texting and communication 10x better!)

With all of life's responsibilities, to-do's, and ways to keep us alert (mmm coffee), sleep often gets neglected. The busyness we operate in wreaks havoc on our ability to get a adequate night of sleep. While some may see this as a badge of honor or something everyone jokes about, it can actually have negative consequences.

Studies have shown a lack of sleep can lead to greater insulin resistance, mess with hormones, decrease the ability to recover, strain your immune system, and even lead to increased caloric intake. Chronic diseases have also been linked to poor sleep. It has a greater impact on our health and bodies than just being tired.

There are many variables within our control that often get neglected. Artificial devices (phones, computers, TV), increased stress and anxiety, food choices, and poor habits all can mess with our sleep quality. Its time to take ownership and stop blaming "busyness" on why we don't sleep enough, because it matters more than we realize.

I'm just as guilty here. Even in the past few months I have experienced the impact poor sleep can have on my day to day activities. Mental fog, mood swings, increased fatigue, reliance on caffeine. I need to take my own advice and sleep more.

“People just don’t realize how important sleep is, and what the health consequences are of not getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis… Sleep is just as important for overall health as diet and exercise.” –Carl Hunt, MD, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the NIH

So what can we do?

First, start off by taking an honest assessment of your sleep schedule, patterns, and habits. Its common to think we sleep more or better than we actually do. From there, begin to develop habits one by one that have a positive impact on sleep. Below are 3 suggestions to get you started...

1. Determine a consistent bed time and wake-up time. Sticking to the same schedule can help your circadian rhythm and overall sleep quality.

2. Create a bedtime routine that allows you to relax and prepare for bed. This can include a bath, reading, and/or turning electronics off an hour before bedtime.

3. Exercise during the day! Many studies have shown that exercise during the day helps sleep and the hormones that control it. (Be careful, however, to avoid intense workouts too close to bedtime)

If you have time and are interested in learning more about the importance of sleep and how you can improve it, check out the article in the link below.

Want more guidance on how to live well, including managing sleep and other lifestyle factors? Check out our Wellness Consultations and schedule an appointment today!

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