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Posted by Barry on Feb 25, 2013

You Need Your Sleep

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One of the easiest and most important things you can do to make sure you are getting fit and healthy is to make sure you get enough sleep.  But even though it is one of the easiest things to do most people still do not get the amount of sleep they need and wonder why they are stuck at a certain plateau or just feel burned out.  According to a recent study the average person sleeps 60 to 90 minutes less than they did 50 years ago, and 35 to 40 percent of Americans have a problem with falling asleep or with daytime sleepiness.

We have all learned how to “get by” with less sleep than we really need so it has become normal for us, but it really is stopping us from getting to a true level of being healthy.  So how do you fix this?

First you have to make sleep a priority. Treat it as you do your workouts and nutrition that the level of importance is that high if you want good functioning and healthy living. There are also a few things you can do to make sure you are giving yourself the best night’s sleep you can.

Exercise: People who exercise tend to have better sleep. Studies show that people who exercise regularly have a much higher quality of sleep. It is believed to be because exercise primes the body for a temperature drop at night time by increasing certain hormone levels associated with the core body temperature drop that happens to us when we go to sleep.

Healthy Eating: What we eat is also a significant factor in the quality of sleep. It has been found that eating a diet high in fat erodes sleep quality by reducing orexin sensitivity. Orexin is a neurotransmitter that regulates wakefulness and since most Americans eat foods high in fats this is causing interrupted sleep.

Good Sleep Habits: Set up your bedroom for quality rest. Your bedroom should be dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature.

Sleep Saboteurs: Things such as medications, caffeine, and alcohol can all affect your sleep. Even if you don’t think they affect you, avoid caffeine and alcohol for at least four hours before you go to bed. That cup of coffee with dinner could keep you up. And even though alcohol initially acts as a mild sedative, as alcohol levels drop in your system, it actually stimulates parts of the brain that cause arousal, leading to waking up and sleep problems later in the evening.

Be Consistent: You should aim to make it to bed at the same time each night and wake at the same time each morning.  This way your body learns a sleep pattern that will help you sleep better.

So if you are in a rut or are always tired you now know what to do.  Get more Sleep!

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