By: Kennedy Shelley
There is something mystical about sleep. It’s a mysterious part of your day. Scientists don’t know why we need sleep; they just know we need it.
About a third of your time on earth will be spent sleeping.
And it’s vital for your health.
Inflammation and pain increase when you wake up after a few hours of sleep.
Just how important is sleep to your health?
IT LEADS TO A SHARP MIND
There is something about dreaming that helps process memories and improves learning.
BOOSTS THE MOOD
Sleep allows us to process emotions. That helps us regulate our reactions to negative events and deal with stress.
Good sleep lowers blood pressure.
BLOOD SUGAR REGULATION
Your blood glucose drops when you sleep. It is a fasting state and helps your body regulate insulin and other markers of blood sugar health.
BOOSTS YOUR IMMUNITY
When you are tired you are much more vulnerable to viruses and more likely to get sick.
And this is just a partial list of the benefits of sleep.
But the question is, how much sleep?
The sweet spot is between 7 and 9 hours a day. Now this is going to depend on your age. But what is interesting is that you can get too much, but one scientist thinks the high-end sleepers already had health problems so that might skew the numbers.
Do you keep track of your sleep?
It has never been easier to get real time measurements of your sleep. If you have a smart watch, there are many apps that can automatically track when you fall asleep and even give you insight into the quality of your rest.
If you don’t want to go high-tech, you can keep a piece of paper by your bed for a couple of weeks and note when you go to bed.
Hard numbers help at the beginning to figure out if you need help.
Let’s say you kept a journal and figured you are only getting 5 and ½ hours of sleep. You know your blood pressure and blood sugar are high, so the cheapest treatment to try would be getting 90 more minutes of sleep.
How do you make it happen?
Have you ever considered getting a coach?
I’m not talking about some guy with a whistle around his neck in your bedroom, but instead a high-tech tool from the Cleveland Clinic.
Their program, called Go! To Sleep, is $50 and they work with you to create rituals and habits that will help ease you into the 7 to 9-hour optimal sleep time. You can find out more about their program here.
No one teaches you in school how to relax before going to bed. My parents never taught me how to get the right temperature for my best sleep. So, odds are you never learned either.
But the people at the Cleveland Clinic have years of experience and put together some of the best practices to help you get the rest you need.
It’s amazing that you don’t need an expensive drug to dramatically change your overall health.
It’s often the simple things that make a huge difference. Sleep is about as simple as it gets.