How to Sleep Better – The Importance of Sleep for your Health

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Posted by Dr Janine Bowring

December 18, 2020

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Most of us know that if we don’t get a good night’s sleep, we may be cranky and less energetic in the morning. What few people realize is the severe effects lack of sleep can have on your health. In fact, lack of sleep is associated with increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and depression. Your body repairs itself during restful sleep, it simply needs the rest to be able to function.

How to Sleep Better – The Importance of Sleep for your Health

Most of us know that if we don’t get a good night’s sleep, we may be cranky and less energetic in the morning. What few people realize is the severe effects lack of sleep can have on your health. In fact, lack of sleep is associated with increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and depression. Your body repairs itself during restful sleep, it simply needs the rest to be able to function. A lot of my patients complain that their lives are simply too busy, they are too wound up to sleep. The to-do lists get ever longer and it seems that there isn’t enough time in a 24-hour day. I’ve always reminded them that getting healthy comes from the inside out and that you have to make your health a priority. There are those patients who have a hard time falling asleep and others who fall asleep easily but tend to wake up at 3 am and toss and turn. Mainstream medicine easily prescribes sleeping pills, but these are extremely addictive. It is much better to find natural solutions to your sleep problems. My simple tips for getting a good night’s sleep: Go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning, even on weekends. This helps to establish a regular cycle of waking and sleep with your body’s own inherent circadian rhythm. Sleep in a dark, cool room. The ideal temperature for sleep is 65 degrees F or 18.3 degrees C. Darkness helps the natural secretion of melatonin, the hormone associated with sleep. Avoid caffeine and alcohol within at least 4 hours of your bedtime. Both are stimulants and can inhibit sleep. Avoid eating a big meal right before bed, especially if it contains a lot of carbohydrates. This will mess up your leptin levels and your insulin response as well, meaning your melatonin cannot be secreted when your insulin is high. Avoid watching upsetting or negative events on TV or online, before bed, for instance The News! Make a list of the things you will accomplish tomorrow before going to bed. Often we lay awake in anticipation of the things we need to do tomorrow. Take some time to unwind before going to bed. Meditation before bed may help to calm our anxious minds. There’s nothing like the energy of waking up after a good restful sleep. We can all achieve that naturally by following my simple steps. 

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