By Coach Fox
Sleep is probably one of the most underrated tools for our health and well-being. We all have so many distractions and things that might seem more important than getting a couple more hours of sleep at night, but just as nutrition and exercise are important for optimal health, so is sleep.
There is a huge difference between the amount of sleep you can get by on and the amount of sleep you need to function optimally. Just because you’re able to operate on six hours of sleep doesn’t mean you wouldn’t feel a lot better and get more done if you spent an extra hour or two in bed.
Our sleep directly affects our mental sharpness, emotional balance, productivity, and energy. Our bodies do some of its most important work in our immune system while we sleep. People with more and better sleep quality have a higher resistance to getting sick. Sleep can also impact our gut health which can impact our moods and how we handle stress. Better sleep can even improve our memory. Whether you’re studying for a test, working on a new skill at work or trying to get better at something in the gym, studies show that working on it then sleeping will help your brain incorporate your new knowledge in the most favorable way.
The bottom line is that along with nutrition and exercise, good sleep is one of the pillars of health and you cannot achieve optimal health without it!
Here are some of my tips to get better sleep:
- Wind down at night before going to bed. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour or so before bed doing a calming activity such as reading a book.
- Avoid artificial light a couple of hours before bedtime. Use a blue light filter on your computer or cell phone. Or try blue light blocking glasses.
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning, even on the weekends.
- Don’t eat a couple of hours before you go to bed, especially food high in sugar.
- Keep your bedroom cool.
- If you wake up in the middle of the night, avoid your phone! What might seem like a mindless activity of scrolling through social media or checking your messages could backfire on you. It can suck you in longer than intended and the light from your device will a make it harder to fall back to sleep.