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QUALITY SLEEP FOR QUALITY OF LIFE

July 24, 2017 by Renee Tavoularis

QUALITY SLEEP FOR QUALITY OF LIFE

Getting adequate amounts of sleep each night is a vital part of well-being and essential to overall health—from skincare to immune regulation to stress relief and beyond. While seven to nine hours of sleep may sound unrealistic when your day is packed with back-to-back activity, doctors and wellness practitioners never hesitate to emphasize the benefits of getting a great night’s sleep on a regular basis. Letting your body fully rejuvenate overnight is essential for everything from hormonal balance, muscle repair, and immune regulation to emotional self-care and psychological well-being.

More than just a time to relax

When your body is in a state of sleep, important bodily activities are happening at the cellular level. Your body’s tissues can repair themselves; muscles grow and protein is synthesized to support cell regeneration and renewal. As internal organs rest and recover, regulatory hormones are also released that help maintain appetite control, stress, metabolic function among other body systems.

Countless benefits

Ever notice that after a good night’s rest you’re more likely to choose the tea and fruit over the coffee and pastry? Perhaps you’re less likely to suffer from those post-lunchtime energy slumps? Well, the benefits of quality sleep include more energy, for one. Consistently getting good sleep also strengthens immune function, improves mood, and boosts focus and creativity. This all can lead to healthier and sustainable lifestyle choices, such as making time and effort for cooking, exercise and other self-care activities.

An evening routine that puts you at ease

While any number of nighttime activities can be adopted to promote relaxation, the most important thing is to craft a nightly routine that works for you. It all starts with deciding on a time—and sticking to it! Our bodies produce melatonin and reduce serotonin around bedtime, but these processes work best when we go to bed every night and wake up every morning at the same time. A regular rhythm is essential for optimal sleep.

Disconnect with a digital detox

From a late night work email catch up session to relaxing to your favorite show, our evening habits often involve a backlit screen. This sends signals to your brain that it’s a waking hour. So about an hour before you’d like to fall asleep, shut down the laptop and pick up a journal or good book. Try to keep your bedroom free of digital devices altogether—this way, your body will associate this space with calmness and sleep.

Ditch the late-night snacks

Healthy eating habits can lead to healthy quality sleep. But it’s not just what you eat, it’s when.  Plan your evening so you eat your last meal at least three hours before bedtime, allowing your digestive system to do its work before you need to rest.

Sip a cup of herbal tea

About an hour before bedtime, sitting down with a warm mug of herbal tea can be an excellent way to bring a sense of calm to your evening. Herbal teas are naturally free of caffeine, and several herbs such as chamomile, and passionflower are known to assist with relaxation.

Whatever your pre-bedtime ritual, prioritizing high-quality sleep is necessary for the body’s overall health, so make sure to adopt regular habits that support getting the sleep your body and mind both need… and deserve.
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