Want to improve your health? Prioritize sleep!
You’ve heard it all before.
Just eat healthy and workout and you’ll be in the best shape of your life.
But while proper diet and exercise certainly help, there’s another pillar of good health that often gets pushed to the wayside – a good night’s sleep.
That’s right. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep at night doesn’t just help you wake up on the right side of the bed, it’s also critical for your overall health.
How exactly does sleeping help?
- It helps your brain function
- It boosts your mood by giving your brain time to process emotions
- It leads to a healthier heart by allowing your blood pressure to slow down as you rest
- It boosts your athletic performance by recharging your energy and repairing your muscles
- It steadies your blood sugar levels
- It helps your immune system ward off illness
- It helps you manage your weight
And how does a lack of sleep harm your health?
- It can cause memory issues and trouble with thinking and concentration
- It can cause mood swings and lead to anxiety and depression
- It can cause a weakened immune system which makes you more vulnerable to viruses
- It can cause higher blood sugar levels and increased risk for type 2 diabetes
- It can increase your blood pressure and lead to heart disease
- It can cause weight gain because your brain will release hunger hormones in order to try and get the energy it’s missing
- It can cause you to be more prone to accidents and injuries due to drowsiness, poor balance, and coordination
So what should you do to make sure you get a good night’s sleep?
Try incorporating the following foods into your diet:
These foods naturally increase your melatonin levels – a hormone your brain produces in response to darkness that helps with the timing of your circadian rhythm and in turn helps you sleep.
- Eggs, turkey, and oatmeal
- Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel
- Tart cherries and tart cherry juice
- Nuts such as almonds and walnuts
- Chamomile and passionflower tea
- Delicious kiwi
Finally, here are a few natural sleep aids to incorporate into your daily routine:
- Avoid consuming caffeine late in the day
- Exercise! Physical activity during the day tuckers your brain out at night
- Turn down the temperature in your room – studies show the ideal thermostat temperature for sleep is between 65- and 72-degrees Fahrenheit
- Teach your brain when it’s time to sleep by increasing your bright light exposure during the day and keeping it dark at night
Now we know there are new parents out there who are ready smash their computer screens right now with their sleep deprived fists. We want you to know that we see you, and we are not looking to add extra stress and focus on the fact that you’re exhausted. Here’s a little reminder that this is just a season in your life. It’s a long, hard, season but it will slowly come to an end and you will eventually sleep again.
Until then we hope to see your sleep deprived selves showing up at our gym for some love and support.