Many may be aware that they feel a lot better after a good night's sleep, or feel terrible after a bad one, but they still may not realize just how connected their sleep quality is to their overall health. Not only can the quality of your sleep have a direct impact on your health, but your overall lifestyle and level of health can impact your sleep quality, as well. If you're looking for ways to sleep better and feel better too, here are some things to keep in mind.
Understanding Sleep and Your Health
The quality and the amount of sleep you get on a regular basis is directly connected to how healthy you are. There are many studies that suggest that lack of quality sleep can lead to a whole host of health issues, from depression to weight gain to heart disease. Sleep is so important for health because your body does a lot of work to repair itself throughout the night, especially when you enter into deeper cycles of sleep.
Not only does your body work to digest food and process hormones, but it also helps to regulate your emotions and heal and regenerate your cells. If you don't get enough sleep, or don't get sleep that is deep enough, your body may struggle to undertake these processes, and in some cases may not be able to perform them at all. This can quickly leave you feeling run down or not yourself in the short term, but in the long term it can lead to much more serious health concerns.
Foods That Promote Sleep
One of the best things that you can do to help promote good sleep is to eat a healthy diet rich in foods that promote restfulness. What some may not know is that good nutrition plays a big role in how well you are able to sleep at night. Also, the reality is that the average adult is often eating a diet that is lacking in the nutrients they need to stay healthy. By eating a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, leafy greens and lean protein you can help ensure that you are getting your bases covered when it comes to nutrition. However, if you struggle to eat a balanced diet sometimes including a supplement like super reds may be helpful for filling in nutritional gaps.
Along with eating plenty of fresh produce, drinking herbal teas like chamomile and lavender can help promote sleep, as can cherry juice. Foods with tryptophan like turkey, chicken, milk, eggs and some nuts can also be beneficial for promoting sleep as well.
Foods That Prevent Sleep
While you are introducing more foods into your diet that can help you sleep deeply, it is also a good idea to begin cutting down on foods and substances that prevent you from falling asleep. Some of the biggest culprits behind sleep disturbances are caffeine and alcohol. Because it stimulates your nervous system, caffeine is great for getting you started in the morning, but that also means that it can keep you up at night, too, even if you drink it early on in the day. This is because it can take your body a while to process caffeine, and stays active within your system for up to several hours after you have consumed it. If you don't want to give up your coffee, making sure that you stop drinking it past early afternoon can help you to sleep better at night.
Besides caffeine, alcohol is another big disruptor of sleep. While some may think that alcohol can be a relaxing way to unwind in the evenings, the reality is that it can actually have a negative impact on your sleep cycles. This means that while you may be able to fall asleep after drinking alcohol, you will likely struggle to stay asleep, and will also have trouble falling into the deeper cycles of sleep where your body and brain do work to repair themselves. Having a drink or two in the evenings may not be a big deal if you only do it occasionally, but if it is a regular habit, cutting down or cutting it out could make a big difference for your sleep quality.
Habits That Can Secretly Hurt Sleep Quality
Your eating habits aren't the only thing that can make it harder to fall asleep at night, there are many other habits that can have a negative impact as well. One of them is napping throughout the day. While you should rest if you are truly tired, sleeping during the day can interfere with your body's natural rhythms and make it more difficult for you to nod off at night.
Additionally, going to bed at different times every night can also make it harder for your body to know when to wind down, and prevent you from getting quality rest. Another thing that prevents you from sleeping well is being too active before bed time. It can take your body a couple of hours to unwind and be prepared for rest, so doing anything too strenuous before bedtime can make it harder for you to relax, and ultimately sleep.
Habits That Help Improve Sleep Quality
If you want to take up habits that improve sleep quality, one of the best things you can do is start a regular workout routine. Exercise not only balances your hormones, but it can also reduce things like depression and anxiety, which are big disruptors of sleep and healthy sleep cycles. Working out also helps raise your body temperature temporarily. The decrease in temperature that you experience after the spike from working out can also be helpful in preparing your body for rest later on.
Having a relaxing routine is also a great idea if you want to start sleeping better. What you choose to do is up to you, but things like reading a book, journaling, taking a hot bath, drinking herbal tea or practicing mindfulness are all great ways to unwind before bed and prepare your nervous system for sleep.
The Bottom Line
Although many may be aware that they feel a lot better after a good night's sleep and feel terrible after a bad one, they may not realize how significant the connection between their overall health and their sleep quality is. While this may seem concerning to some, especially if they struggle to get good sleep, the reality is that improving sleep quality can be simple. By doing things like improving your diet and starting a relaxing night time ritual, you can improve your sleep quality today.
The Bottom Line
Although many may be aware that they feel a lot better after a good night's sleep and feel terrible after a bad one, they may not realize how significant the connection between their overall health and their sleep
quality is. While this may seem concerning to some, especially if they struggle to get good sleep, the reality is that improving sleep quality can be simple. By doing things like improving your diet and starting a relaxing night time ritual, you can improve your sleep quality today.
Sleep quality effects every other aspect of our overall health and well-being. If you believe that you or a loved one has a sleeping disorder, talk to your primary care physician or give Alaska Sleep Clinic a call to get a free sleep assessment and talk to one of our board-certified sleep specialists. Improve Your Sleep. Improve Your Life.