Summer of Self-Care: Sleep

Let’s talk about sleep. 

To continue our Summer of Self-Care, we want to highlight the topic of Sleep, something we all need. 

We all know we don’t get enough sleep, but we don’t talk enough about why. Sleep allows your body to recharge and refocus after a long day, and also works hand in hand with your nutrition. What you eat affects the quality of your sleep and the quality of your sleep affects the way your body processes food. Lack of sleep decreases brain functionality, our ability to stave off diseases and can ultimately alter the allocation of our macros. Not to mention the simple reason of fatigue limiting our motivation for getting active or making healthy choices.

While you rest your immune system actually works just as hard as it does during your waking hours. During this time, Human Growth Hormones (HGH) are most efficiently released. Because of this, the amount of sleep you get also contributes to how often you get sick. The less you sleep, the less time you give your immune system to work at its optimum level and the greater your risk of contracting an illness. Higher rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, cancer, stroke, and Alzheimer's are all issues associated with sleep deprivation. 

Closing your eyes and resting may not seem like much, but in actuality it does a lot for your body and overall health. Sleeping helps our bodies build “muscle memory.” It’s when our memories are physically made! The quality of sleep we get depends on us, and the quality of results we get depends on sleeping. It’s important to include the proper amount of rest in your health regimen, it’s necessary for our body’s recovery after a long workout. 

Want to get healthier, stronger, and recover more efficiently? Sleep is the answer. Here’s how to get better sleep:

  • Be consistent. Establishing a routine and sticking with it is key. Set a bedtime and keep it! Cut your screen time in half before bed and grab something that helps you to relax. Whether it’s a book or practicing stress relievers, take the time to do it before bed for a good night’s rest. 
  • Make sure you’re in a good sleeping environment. A dark, cool, quiet setting is best. Light is a powerful tool that tells the body it’s time to wake up, so use those black out curtains if you need to!
  • Avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages before bed. Even if you feel “used to it” or that “it makes you feel tired” they can actually decrease the quality of your sleep.

This just scratches the surface of all things sleep. For more detailed insight make sure to join us on Sunday, August 1 for part two of our “More About the 4” video series. We will host a virtual Q&A with Professor Joe Chandler. You don’t want to miss it!

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