5 Tips To Improve The Quantity & Quality of Sleep

With busy lives packed with activities & obligations, many of us have become accustomed to being sleep deprived. But just because we're used to it, doesn't mean it's good for us. Recent studies have shown that adequate sleep is essential not only for overall health, but for weight control as well. 

Lack of sleep drives up your levels of ghrelin (the hormone that stimulates your appetite and prompts you to eat more). At the same time, it drives down your levels of leptin (the hormone that lets you know when you are satisfied and prompts you to stop eating when you're full). No wonder we feel ravenous on the days we don't get enough sleep!

HERE ARE TIPS FOR IMPROVING YOUR QUANTITY & QUALITY OF SLEEP: 

PLAN

Be aware of what time you need to be in bed in order to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep. (Most people need eight hours.) 

ROUTINE

Set up a relaxing bedtime routine. One hour before your bedtime, start getting ready. Turn off computers, televisions and cell phones. Wrap up any tasks you need to complete, brush your teeth & put on pajamas. Do the same things each night to tell your body it's time to wind down. This may include taking a warm shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music.

COMFORT

Create a room that's ideal for sleeping. Make your bedroom cool, dark, quiet and comfortable. Use blackout curtains, eye covers, earplugs, a fan or white-noise generator, a humidifier or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.

EAT RIGHT

Don't eat or drink large amounts before bedtime. Eat a light dinner at least two hours before sleeping. If you're prone to heartburn, avoid spicy or fatty foods, which can make your heartburn flare and prevent a restful sleep. Avoid nicotine, caffeine and alcohol in the evening.

EXERCISE

Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and make your sleep more restful. However, exercising in the evenings may boost your energy & make falling asleep more difficult. We recommend a morning exercise routine.

BOTTOM LINE:

Make sleep just as a high a priority in your schedule as all your other healthy habits.