Sleep, glorious sleep. If only we got enough of it! Poor sleep quality is linked to serious health consequences such as heart problems, high blood pressure, gastric issues, increased anxiety, depression, and decreased cognitive abilities. Despite a busy work life or substantial home responsibilities, a good night’s sleep can be gained with some simple lifestyle changes and schedule adjustments.
A chronic sleep disorder causes health issues and daytime fatigue that could impact your cognitive abilities
Do I Have a Sleep Disorder?
A chronic sleep disorder causes health issues and daytime fatigue that could impact your cognitive abilities. 7-9 hours of sleep per night is essential for most healthy adults. Any less could put you at risk of sleep deprivation and put you at odds with loved ones.
Potential signs of sleep disorder:
- Extreme daytime fatigue
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Trouble staying asleep
- Takes over 30 minutes to fall asleep every night
- Taking many daytime naps
- Snoring and gasping for air while sleeping (sleep apnea)
- Restless leg syndrome (crawling sensation in the legs when trying to sleep)
Good nutrition is fundamental to good health but can also impact your sleep quality
Does Diet Affect Sleep?
Good nutrition is fundamental to good health but can also impact your sleep quality. A poor diet, alcohol consumption, and smoking have a negative impact on physical health that leads to obesity, blood pressure issues, risk of stroke, heart attack, sleep apnea, lethargy, and mental health issues. Vitamin deficiency interrupts vital bodily processes and the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. A healthy diet of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, water, and vitamin supplements can help you get back on a good sleep track.
Sleep Disorders and Health
A bad night’s sleep can have you rushing for the coffee maker and reaching for the high sugar snacks to get you through the day. Sleep disorders put your body in a high-stress state that signals your body to hold onto body fat. Obesity can put you at risk of sleep apnea and other serious health issues.
Anxiety, depression, and stress are major sleep deprivation triggers. A lack of good quality sleep exacerbates symptoms further, creating a vicious cycle of insomnia and anxiety. Reducing stress begins when you know where your stress is coming from. Examine your work habits and lifestyle, are you taking in too much work for one person to handle? Could you ask someone for help to share the load? Engaging in physical activity, meditation, yoga, walks in the fresh air, even drinking more water can reduce stress. A quiet mind can be achieved even if the world around you is noisy, as can good restful sleep be achieved.
Boost Immune System
A healthy immune system is the pillar of good health. When your immune system is low it can make you susceptible to picking up colds and flu easily, also prolonging recovery time. A healthy immune system coupled with a nightly routine that includes wind-down well techniques could ensure a good night of sleep every night, which strengthens your immune system further.
How Can I Sleep Better?
- Be consistent with your sleep schedule, be a sleep expert and get 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night
- Avoid the blue light of electronics in your bedroom, particularly one hour before sleeping
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon as it may hinder your ability to fall asleep at night
- Keep your bedroom for relaxation, sex, and sleep only. Avoid working in your bedroom, there must be a clear division of work/sleep space if possible, if you need to work in your bedroom put a room divider or curtain around your desk
- Have blackout blinds or curtains in your bedroom, a darker room is better to sleep in
- Eat as healthy as you can and add some vitamin supplements to your diet
- Exercise a few times per week to keep you strong and release stress
- Enjoy as much fresh air as you can, it will help elevate your mood and help you sleep at night
- Try to resist that daytime nap so you sleep better at night, if you need to nap keep it at 20 minutes maximum
- Schedule a checkup with your doctor if you’re worried about a potential sleep disorder or you’re experiencing ill health
Cardiovascular disease diabetes and obesity could be largely attributed to poor sleep. If you’re a night owl up all night working or browsing social media instead of sleeping, you could be damaging your physical health and mental well-being. Incorporate healthy sleep habits that include limiting screen time, going to bed at the same time every night, and getting up at the same time every day. Adopting new healthy routines takes some getting used to so be kind to yourself as you adjust to your new sleep routines. They are beneficial to your health and well worth the effort.