“People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one.”

Do you REALLY know how much sleep you need and WHY it is important? Doctors are now saying that sleep is as important to your health as the food you eat and the exercise you do. Lack of sleep can result in weight gain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, depression, premature aging and impaired thinking.

Lack of sleep often makes weight loss harder.

We’ve all had a sleepless night over the last few years and do you remember the next day when you were ravaged by hunger all day?  Your body was experiencing the negative impact of a lack of sleep on your hormones. The hormones leptin and ghrelin are influenced by how much we sleep. when you don’t get enough sleep, it lowers leptin levels, which means you don’t feel as satisfied after you eat. Your ghrelin levels rise and your appetite is stimulated so you want more food.

If you get enough sleep you can give your body time to repair and rejuvenate. Rest is your recharger, just like charging your mobile phone. If we can aim for seven hours of sleep most nights, our systems will recharge and work a lot better.

Here are a few tips for a better nights sleep:
Stick to a sleep schedule. When it comes to sleep, your body likes a routine—even on the weekend. Try to get into a pattern of waking up and going to bed at the same time each morning and night.  I know some of you may still experience broken sleep but start getting into the habit of this now.

Watch caffeine intake after 5 pm. If you enjoy a caffeinated cup of Green Tea in the evenings, it could be keeping you awake at night. Try a decaffeinated drink or just switch to water in the evenings. Caffeine can easily disrupt your sleep or make it more difficult for you to fall asleep.

Don’t try and claim you can live on only 5-6 hours.  The FACT is that everyone should aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night. When you are sleep deprived for an extended period of time, your judgment becomes impaired and you may think you need less than you do. When that happens, you aren’t even aware of the increased energy you could have if you got that extra hour of sleep.

Skip alcohol. Ever notice when you have a glass of wine or two that you have a more restless nights sleep? It’s not a coincidence. Many people with insomnia use a glass of wine to try and induce sleep, but studies indicate that alcohol consumed within an hour of bedtime appears to disrupt the second half of sleep—you will wake up and have a more difficult time getting back to sleep. Alcohol’s impact on your sleep is thought to get worse if you regularly have a drink before going to bed.

Adopt some habits that indicate to your body that it’s time to wind down. Just like when we read to our children before bed, try and develop some regular routines of your won before you go to bed.. Try reading every night before you drift off to dreamland & you will begin to get tired when you pick up that book. Create something regular to signal to your body it’s almost time to rest and drift off.

Ensure your bedroom is conducive to sleep. Most people sleep better in total darkness. Make sure you don’t have your iPhone beeping or lighting up in your bedroom. Shut down your laptop so it isn’t glowing in your room and pull down the blinds or shut your curtains. The right sheets, pillows and duvets can dramatically improve your comfort and quality of sleep, so make sure you think your bed is comfortable. Also, avoid doing anything you consider stressful in your bedroom—like work. Make it a peaceful environment.

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