Most research findings support the hypothesis that sleep duration is associated with obesity. Thus, finding a suitable sleeping strategy needs to be part of your healthy living and good nutrition routine. We live in a busy world but we are not a victim of it. While we have more opportunities to do things other than sleep, like 24 hour cable/satellite TV, internet, email, extended work shifts, family commitments, 24 hour shopping, etc., much of the time we choose what we do. Lack of sleep usually reflects our priorities rather than real constraints.
If you are concerned about your sleep quality and quantity, start by figuring out if your sleep is adequate. Just like we recommend a food diary, sleep experts often recommend a “sleep diary“. Are you getting 7-9 hours each night? If not, why? Is it due to poor sleep setup, medications, or another negative habit? Get to the root of the problem and start reaping the benefits of adequate sleep time.
Second, make good sleep a priority, just like the rest of your healthy habits. Here are several factors to consider when generating a sleeping pattern:
- Consistency: Keep a relatively consistent bedtime and wake time. Staying up late and sleeping in on weekends can disrupt your routine during the week.
- Light: Keep the bedroom extremely dark, to tell the body’s light-sensitive clock that it’s time to sleep.
- Noise: Keep the bedroom extremely quiet or use a white noise generator (such as a fan).
- Relaxation/routine: Develop a pre-bed routine that is relaxing and familiar. Television, work, computer use, movies and deep/stressful discussions late at night can disrupt sleep.
- Temperature: Keep a slightly cool temperature in the room, between 18-22 C.
- Stimulants: Eliminate stimulants like caffeine/nicotine, especially later in the day.
- Exercise: It’s not only good for a tight butt and big guns, it can help improve sleep.
- Fullness: Eating a dinner that makes you overly full can disturb sleep.
Keep an eye out for more posts coming soon!