Get Your Zzzzzzzzz......

Sleep is so important, but so underrated.  We live in a society where less sleep and more productivity has become something to brag about.  What most people aren't considering is the very vital role that sleep plays in our health and well-being.  A lack of sleep disrupts circadian rhythms and can lead to inefficient body regulation of energy balance, metabolism and appetite.  Getting enough sleep can help with weight loss, hormonal imbalances, muscle recovery, alertness, productivity and can improve your overall health.  Getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night seems impossible with our busy schedules these days, but the value of a good night sleep is well worth making time for it.   With a bit of practice and a consistent routine, you will certainly see the positive impact of getting a good night sleep on a regular basis.  If you're someone who struggles with sleep, try these tips to help you get into a better sleep routine and get you waking up feeling well rested and ready to take on the day!

1. Exercise enhances the quality of sleep

Even a 30 minute walk a day can help with a good night sleep.  Lace up your sneakers and get some exercise!

2. Limit your caffeine intake to before noon

If your morning coffee turns into an afternoon latte, you can be left buzzing and staring at the ceiling wide awake.  Limit your caffeine intake to the morning hours and you'll certainly feel the difference in your sleep cycle.

3. Get off electronics 1 hour before bed time

Powering down from electronics allows the brain to relax and get into a state to prepare for sleep.  Our minds need to be in a relaxed state before bed to enjoy quality sleep.

4. Finish dinner 2-3 hours before bedtime

If your body is still working on digesting your dinner you will have a tough time falling asleep, not to mention eating right before bedtime is linked to unwanted weight gain.

5. Eliminate alcohol before bedtime

Alcohol causes frequent urination and interrupts your sleep quality.  If you're going to bed buzzed your most likely not getting quality sleep.

6. Get on a consistent bedtime routine

Setting a routine bedtime and wake up time allows your body to get into a rhythm and get on a more effective sleep schedule.  Getting in bed at the same time nightly will make a huge difference. 

7. Sleep=Recovery

Sleep is the time when the body is in ultimate recovery.  Mental, physical, and emotional recovery takes place during your sleep cycle.  If you're body and mind need some healing, more sleep will certainly be a valuable tool for recovery.

8. Turn on some white noise

I've found sleeping with a fan on or some white noise really helps to drown out my thoughts and get me into a relaxed state and makes it easier to fall asleep.

9. Treat sleep with the same importance as you do your diet and exercise regimen

The combination of good dietary practices, a steady exercise program and quality sleep will greatly improve your overall health and lower your risk of several diseases.

10. Experiment with different techniques

The key to reaching any health goal is to experiment on yourself.  Try out a few of these different tips and see what works best for you!  Your body may respond to going to sleep earlier, or reading a book before bed, or even totally cutting caffeine from your diet.  What works for one person may not work for another, so test them out and see what routine works best for you.

Sweet dreams :)