Sleep & Wellness Tips

Why Sleep is so Important for your Health

Why Sleep is so Important for your Health

“We exercise for a purpose: for cardiovascular health, to increase lean muscle mass, to improve endurance, and more. All of these ‘goals’ require sleep”
- Christopher Winter, MD

Getting adequate sleep will help you attain ALL your goals in the new year - whether that's getting in better shape, more exercise, healthy eating, or even spending quality time with family and friends. However most of us, don’t prioritize sleep as important, and push it to the very end of the to-do list for the day. It's time for us all to rethink our relationship to sleep.

According to Matthew Walker, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Founder and Director of the Center for Human Sleep Science, the “sleep-loss epidemic” that we are experiencing is killing us. And getting adequate sleep (7-9 hours per night) is the best way to stay healthy & lower your risk for disease.

If you are getting by on 5-6 hours of sleep a night, you are opening yourself and your body up to an array of health problems.

Walker says that a lack of sleep (anything less than 7 hours) increases your risk for heart attack, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and obesity. It also compromises your immune system and makes you much less functional, efficient and effective at work.

how to sleep better

How do you know if you’re getting enough sleep?

Your body will let you know if you are getting adequate rest. If you experience the following signs, you're on the right path and likely don't need to alter your current sleeping routine or patterns:

  • You don’t need an alarm to wake up, and you can wake naturally at around the same time each day.
  • You don’t need that essential morning cup of joe to get you going each day, or any type of caffeinated drink.
  • You don't feel overtired in the morning.
  • You don’t sleep in on weekends.

Not getting enough sleep? Or enough quality sleep?

If you find it difficult to fall asleep, or you experience fragmented sleep (where you get up several times during the night) there are several things you can do:

  • Avoid caffeine late in the day (and certainly not at night!). Pass on it after 4pm.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol 6-8 hours before bed (contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t help you fall asleep - it is a sedative that blocks deep, dream sleep).
  • One hour before bed, shut down phones, electronics, and LED screens (the bright devices can block your melatonin levels pushing the onset of sleep.)
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark and cool, to limit light exposure and bring your body temperature down.

tips to sleep better

To learn more about the power of sleep, and to read an in-depth analysis of Walker’s book “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams,” click HERE.

Invest in yourself 

Carve out time in your schedule to get those 7-9 hours a night - you’ll wake up refreshed, energized, in a better mood, and ready to tackle anything! You owe it to yourself and your family to perform and function at your very best each day.

And be sure to invest in high quality bedding to achieve maximum comfort and get the best sleep possible. If you're sleeping on low quality, cheap, scratchy sheets, it's very likely that you're waking up in a sweat and that your body is just too hot to sleep well.

You'll want to find sheets that not only feel comfortable and soft, but also help regulate your body temperature all night long (so you don't overheat or get too cold during the night.)

Look for 100% cotton percale sheets (what high-end hotels use on their beds) as these sheets work great to keep most sleepers comfortable.

dog laying on percale pillowcases and bed sheets

Want to learn more? 

Our blog has a variety of sleep & wellness posts that provide helpful information as you navigate getting those zzz's! Don't forget to check out these 5 Tips for a Better Sleep to help you relax and get a deep nights slumber. And if it's hot out, check out these great tips for sleeping during warmer months.

Want to learn more about bedding and how it affects your sleep? Read the 7 myths of bedding to get the truth! 

Reading next

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Tech Tips and iPhone apps to improve your sleep

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