“Health is wealth.” This is what my dad always told me. We may not live in the biggest house, wear impressive designer apparel or drive the fanciest car in the world, but having good health is a treasure all by itself. Regardless of how many decimal places we have in our bank accounts, we all want to live full, happy and healthy lives.
Yet, most of us overlook an essential part of wellness – sleep. Having a restful night’s sleep is needed for us to cope with all the hustles and bustles of daily, modern living. Furthermore, sleep is a key factor in having excellent cognitive performance, physical fitness, as well as improving focus, learning, memory, mood and reflexes.
“Sleep affects our executive function; the area of the brain responsible for decision-making, creative thinking, memory and reaction time,” says sleep expert Dr. Lisa Shives. Getting enough rest can greatly boost your mental performance, problem-solving skills, and ability to handle stress. When you are exhausted because you spent two extra hours working late instead of sleeping early, your mood and motivation suffers. So, make sure you have adequate sleep.
On the other hand, if you lack sleep, you’re prone to gain more weight. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, insufficient sleep is strongly associated with an increased body mass index (BMI) and the likelihood of obesity. Because you are sleep deprived, your hunger hormones will be more active and cause you to make unhealthy food choices. Moreover, feeling sleepy during the day will cause you to lose interest in doing any type of physical activity. Thus, your body burns fewer calories and that leads to gaining excess weight.
Staying well-rested and prioritizing healthy sleeping habits will help you stay fit, reduce the risk of illness caused by insufficient rest, and avoid mental and physical impairment. So now that we’ve gained a newfound appreciation for sleep, follow these useful tips to develop a healthy bedtime routine:
Curb your usage of electronic devices. Do you surround yourself with smartphones, laptops, tablets or like to binge-watch on Netflix before bedtime? Well, all these devices may distract you from wanting to sleep early and affect your body because of the light they radiate. Try to avoid using them at all costs, especially before bedtime.
Do a bedroom makeover. Maybe it’s time to take a long, hard look at how your bedroom is set up. Invest some time in organizing and de-cluttering your bedroom. Remove any belongings you have that might hamper you from getting a restful night’s sleep. Use thick curtains or an eye mask to block off any light that may sneak in your bedroom. If you are distracted by sounds, earplugs may reduce the ambient noise.
Keep your regular sleep schedule even on weekends. It’s so tempting for most people to go out and party during the weekends. However, you’ll end up disrupting your normal sleep-wake pattern if you stay up late. This sleep deficit implies reduced duration of sleep the next day, making it difficult for you to revert into your regular bedtime once the work week starts anew.
Remember, those who sleep well tend to perform better in their professions, have more energy to do the things they love, and enjoy richer, happier lives. And this is what I want for you.
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