Nutrient rich foods, calorie tracking, cardio exercise, strength training, drinking plenty of water: all good options, all pretty popular ways people try to be healthier. But I am also a huge promoter of one of the underrated health strategies: SLEEP. Sleep is a restorative tool that can aid your physical and mental wellbeing in many ways.
Getting enough sleep restores our mental reserves to better combat stress and promote clear thinking while we are awake. Adequate sleep also helps boost and stabilize our moods.
The hormones that control our appetites reset and rebalance most effectively while we sleep, which carries over to waking hours. Relatedly, lowered blood sugar while we sleep leads to better balance throughout the day, and reduces tendency toward weight gain and in turn lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Getting plenty of rest helps shore up your immune system to fight off illness.
While our body and mind rest, they are busy getting ready to stabilize our energy levels throughout the next day.
We gain muscle in the rest time after workouts, and sleep leads to one of our most restful times of the day to repair muscle from strength and endurance exercise.
The rest our heart gets through lowered blood pressure and heart rate while sleeping lowers our risk of heart disease and stroke.
Sleep needs vary, and tend to decline from childhood through later adulthood. Below is a chart from The Sleep Foundation that outlines the amount of sleep children need, broken down by age, and including daytime naps and nighttime stretches.
For adults, 7-8 hours is ideal. In conclusion: Happy sleeping!