When’s the last time you slept like a baby?
Sleep is critical to our health. When we sleep, our bodies and brains do the hard work of processing the day’s events, storing memories and repairing cell damage throughout our entire systems.
One of the first things to suffer when we are sleep deprived is our ability to recall information and to pay attention. Poor sleep also contributes to feelings of sadness, lack of motivation, and higher levels of anxiety.
When we don’t sleep well at night, our body produces more “stress” hormones, like cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. High levels of these hormones cause trouble with regulating blood sugar levels and often leads to weight gain over time.
What can we do to sleep better?
- Create a sleeping environment that promotes good sleep.
- Turn off all lights including lights from electronics.
- Use darkening shades on windows.
- Shut your bedroom door.
- Don’t watch TV or look at your phone or tablet in bed.
- Don’t do work in bed.
- Don’t eat for 2 hours prior to lying down to sleep.
- Avoid caffeine (sodas, teas, chocolate) after noon.
- Stop drinking liquids at least one hour before lying down.
- Avoid alcohol within two hours of going to sleep.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about natural or prescription sleep aides or other medications that help improve sleeping patterns.