By Sheryl Brooks, R.N., N.C.M.P.
Research has revealed that sleep is one of the basic building blocks of good health. Although we live in a society where trading sleep time for getting more things done in a day is often the norm, the truth is that our brains and bodies require adequate amounts of good quality sleep to stay healthy. Sleep deprivation has negative affects on aging, immune system function, metabolism, reaction time, memory, blood pressure, and ability to focus. Adults should aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep to promote a healthy immune system and to help reduce levels of chronic low-grade inflammation. This year, make getting a good night’s sleep a priority!
To Get a Better Night’s Sleep:
- Daily exercise, several hours before bedtime, promotes a better night’s sleep for most people.
- Pay attention to how caffeine affects your sleep and adjust your consumption amount and time accordingly. (that includes dark chocolate)
- Stop food and alcohol intake 2-3 hours prior to sleep.
- Turn off all electronic screens at least one hour before sleep.
- Create a sleep time ritual. Choose a dimly lit space or in light designed to limit blue light waves, get comfortable, think about the events of the day and put them to rest, then do something relaxing until you’re sleepy.
- Sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room.