You say you want to bring in the New Year with a positive life change that will benefit you and your health. One of the most beneficial resolutions to your overall health is changing your sleep habits. For years you have heard that sleep is important, but have you really executed a plan to make sleep a priority? Studies have discovered that sleep plays a critical role in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions. Here are some reasons why sleep should take precedence over other resolutions this year.
Sleep, learning, and memory are complex phenomena that are not entirely understood. However, studies suggest that the quantity and quality of sleep have a profound impact on learning and memory. Sleep is essential for forming and consolidating memories and that it plays a central role in the formation of new neuronal connections and the pruning of old ones.
Inflammation is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging. During sleep, the body regenerates and the immune system calms down. Lack of restorative sleep is a major promoter of inflammation. Research indicates that people who get less than six or fewer hours of sleep a night—have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who get more. People who have sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or insomnia can have an improvement in blood pressure and inflammation with treatment.
If you are thinking about going on a diet, you might want to plan an earlier bedtime too. Dieters feel hungrier when they get less sleep. Researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who were well rested lost more fat—56% of their weight loss—than those who were sleep deprived, who lost more muscle mass. Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same sectors of the brain. When you are sleepy, certain hormones go up in your blood, and those same hormones drive appetite.
When it comes to our health, stress and sleep both can affect cardiovascular health. Sleep can reduce levels of stress, and with that people can have better control of their blood pressure. It’s also believed that sleep effects cholesterol levels, which plays a significant role in heart disease.
Tips for better sleep
- Stick to a sleep schedule
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual such as reading before bed.
- Make your bedroom an environment conducive to sleep
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening.
- If you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired
If you have any concerns about your sleep health or suspect you might have sleep apnea, been diagnosed and would like to find out how you can avoid the high risk of developing other conditions, contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 to schedule a consultation.