The ABC’s to Getting the Right Z’s

By: LINDSEY MURRAY

Edited By: ARYA ROERIG

Eat right, stay active- many think this is all we need in order to stay healthy. But they are forgetting about a key component in the perfect, healthy lifestyle: sleep. Sleep can be a tricky subject to tackle with so much misinformation lurking around but I’m here to help you conquer them once and for all. You too can be a sleep expert faster then you can hit the pillow!

There are many misconceptions that people will advise you to do in order to cure insomnia. “Throw the TV on, that always lulls me to sleep!” “Go for a nice long jog before bed to tire yourself down!” WebMD warns that these probably aren’t the best solutions when bedtime rolls around. According to the health website, exercise before bed can give you more energy instead of the opposite effect. In fact, studies have shown that regular exercise in the morning has proven to be more effective in reducing insomnia.

Experts also warn that your bed should be used purely for sleeping purposes. They suggest creating a quiet, dark, and comfortable haven to get those z’s. Watching TV, surfing the Internet, and even eating in bed can turn this calm and quiet environment in to a one that is associated with distracting activities that make it difficult to fall asleep.

So, what if you’re doing all of these things and are still feeling exhausted in the morning? First off, make sure you are getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night. According to the Mayo Clinic, people may feel well rested after getting only a few hours of sleep, but studies have shown that these groups perform lower on challenging mental test than those who receive seven to eight hours. Studies have also shown that getting less than this recommended amount of sleep per night can cause not only daytime fatigue but can stimulate hormones controlling hunger, which over time can lead to weight gain.  In addition to getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night, it is important to go to bed and get up around the same time every night. While it may be tempting to sleep in on days off from school or work this could disrupt your bodies sleep schedule.

If you’ve tried all of these things and are still struggling to fall asleep at night or are feeling tired in the morning it may be time to talk to a doctor. Serious illnesses such as depression and Sleep Apnea can sometimes be the cause of insomnia or daytime tiredness. It could also be anemia, which is the number one cause of fatigue in women and is easily cured by upping one’s iron intake.

Following these tips can help you to get the sleep  needed to live a healthy lifestyle, however not every one person is the same so it may be helpful to consult a doctor on what sleep patterns are best for you. Either way, a well-rested body is the key ingredient to staying fit and active throughout the day!

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