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Getting Your Zzz's

by Cory Phillips

So you have been eating better and exercising more, but have you been getting enough sleep?


Research shows time and time again the benefits of getting between 7-9 hours of sleep every night! Without enough quality sleep you could be missing out on a ton of health benefits. A few of these include:


1. Sharper memory. Getting enough sleep every night keeps your brain sharper, because without enough sleep your brain doesn't have enough time to properly process, sort and store memories and connections for future recall.  


2. Happier mood. Getting enough sleep also makes you a happier person. Your brain processes emotions while you sleep at night and people with insomnia are five times more likely to develop depression and increases in anxiety and panic disorders.


3. Healthier heart. While you sleep your blood pressure goes down, giving your heart and blood vessels a break. The less you sleep, the longer your blood pressure is elevated in a 24hr period.


4. Better athletic performance. While you sleep, that is your body's time to repair and replenish itself. So without enough sleep, besides robbing yourself of energy and time for muscle repair, sleep deprivation saps you of the motivation to exercise.


5. Weight loss. Research shows that people who sleep fewer than 7 hours per night are more likely to be overweight or obese. Lack of sleep impacts the balance of hormones in the body that affect appetite, the hormones ghrelin and leptin that regulate appetite have been found to be disrupted by lack of sleep.


If you are a person who knows they are not currently getting enough sleep these few tips might help you get on the right path:

- Reduce cell phone and TV use an hour before bed.

- Do not consume caffeine 6 hours before bed.

- Reduce irregular/long daytime naps.

- Try to go to sleep and wake up around the same time each day.

- Limit alcohol use.

- Make sure bedroom is quiet and dark when going to bed.

- Make sure you invest in a comfortable mattress, and pillow (you'll spend 1/3 of your whole life in bed, after all).


By trying to adhere to these tips you should find your quality of sleep improving greatly in the course of a few weeks. Adding that with getting enough hours of sleep every night might just be the lifestyle fix you didn't know you needed!

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