By Brianna Krause
Are you always tired? Do you feel like you barely sleep at night?
Being healthy isn’t simply about regular exercise and healthy eating. People often disregard sleep as being part of a healthy lifestyle. Getting the recommended amount of sleep at night can improve how you function, contribute to your energy levels, improve your mood and help you overcome that tired feeling.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. For adults, that means getting between 7-9 hours of sleep each night, and for teenagers, it’s recommended they sleep 8-10 hours per night.
People who regularly get enough sleep at night function well throughout the day. Productivity at work and school are increased, it is easier to focus on specific tasks, and even reaction times are better when people get enough rest. Getting enough sleep can also contribute to your energy levels.
Sleeping is your body’s way to reset before the next day. According to the Sleep Foundation, while you are fast asleep, your body is working tirelessly to restore your functions such as temperature regulation, immune system, hormones, and even your appetite. All of these factors contribute to your energy levels and your overall health.
We all know that sleep can have a huge impact on a person’s mood. People who get enough sleep may respond to a stressful situation with consideration and in a calm manner, while someone who is getting less than the recommended may respond rudely, harshly, or out of control. Just think about any time you have encountered a cranky toddler. Oftentimes, the caregiver will quickly say, “They didn’t get enough sleep,” or “It’s naptime!” It doesn’t matter how old you are, sleep and a good mood go hand in hand.
Not getting enough sleep at night can also affect your body’s overall health. According to the National Institute of Health, poor sleep can lead to an increase in disorders such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and obesity.
What can you do to ensure you are getting enough sleep at night?
There are many different ways to improve your sleep:
• Maintain a regular sleep schedule
• Avoid napping during the day
• Turn off the TV and put away your phone in the bedroom
• Make your bedroom a comfortable temperature
• Use low lighting in the evenings
• Avoid exercising right before bed
• Avoid eating large meals before bed
…and remember alcohol does not make you fall asleep faster!
Trying some of these ideas could have a big impact on your sleep. Why stay tired and sluggish all day when you could be feeling more energized and functioning better? When you think about it, sleep is a big part of your life. You spend about one-third of your life sleeping, so be mindful and make that time count. You are sure to see a difference in your overall health when you include sleep as a part of a healthy lifestyle.
For 135 years, the YMCA of the Fox Cities has been a unifying force in the Fox Valley. The YMCA links individuals from diverse social and economic backgrounds with an inclusive, collaborative spirit, guided by Christian principles. The YMCA positively impacts the quality of life for more than 60,000 people each year, giving children skills and values which protect the integrity of family life and neighborhoods. For more information, visit ymcafoxcities.org.