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Living Healthy – A Good Night’s Sleep Can Save Your Life

Why living healthy must include a good night’s rest

Have you ever just sat in bed and counted sheep for hours? It is not surprising if you have. A study has shown that nearly half of all adults have some form of sleeping trouble. Another study has shown that health issues from lack of sleep are on the rise.

sleep

Why is sleep so important?

For years you have heard that you need rest, but for years you have gotten along with 5 to 7 hours of sleep and been fine. The problem is this. Out of the 5 to 7 hours, how many were actually spent sleeping and how many were spent counting sheep trying to get to sleep? Living healthy means that the body is returned to a healthy state. Sleeping is the most effective way for the body to fully get to the place it needs to be so that you can face the next day.

Stress the silent Killer

Our lives are hectic. On average, most homes have two people who work full-time in order to just pay the bills. If you are single then the odds are you are working over the 40 hour full-time limit so that you can meet the demands of life. It is no secret that the cost of living has continued to increase and therefore the amount of time dedicated to work has increased. But alongside these increased hours has come a reduction in the hours of sleep and the increase of stress.

Stress is in everyone’s lives including yours and mine. While a low-level of stress is not harmful to the body, a large amount can kill you. It has been proven that strokes, heart attacks, and hypertension are directly related to stress. Now, how can sleep help to decrease your risk of having any of these? Simply put, sleep keeps your mind off the stresses of life.

When you sleep your mind should be at rest. Granted you dream, but your body is not active and you are not worried if you have prepared it for rest. Have you ever gone to bed and dreamed about work only to get up exhausted? Your mind was stressed while you slept. You might as well have stayed up. Below are a few healthy living tips to get your mind ready for a good night’s rest.

Listen to some classical music

Soft music or classical music tends to relax the mind. There are no lyrics so you are not trying to sing along. Rock music and hip-hop music tend to have beats that encourage you to move around and get the heart pumping. This is counterproductive. Where this music is good to get you up and going in the morning, relaxing music that does not require too much attention can help to clear the mind for rest.

healthy livingMeditate

Meditation is a powerful way to train your body and mind to relax before you rest. By meditation you can clear your mind of stressful thoughts leading to a more fulfilled night’s sleep.

Avoid action movies and dramas before bed

A common element that keeps people from a good night’s rest is the television. Shows are so packed full of action and drama that it is hard to switch off the mind. Furthermore, many people have televisions in their rooms at the end of their beds (I would recommend against such) for watching at night. The problem with this is that you tend to find something exciting to watch. Then, because the program was so good, you replay it over and over in your mind. Avoid watching television shows before going to bed

Sleep resets your body

Living healthy means that your body and your mind is healthy. After a long work day, it is critical that your body have time to rest and reset. It is during rest that injuries heal the quickest, that muscles relax so as not to be over stressed, and that the heart rate slows down to give your heat a little break from the fast boom, boom, boom.

Imagine your body like a high performance car. You have to have a healthy diet plan so that it is fueled correctly. However, if you run and run, the gas goes out of you. If your body continues to run without having time to cool down, like a car it will over heat and go out. There are many technical terms for this (hypertension, stroke, aneurism, heat attacks,  blood clots, nervous breakdowns, etc) but essentially your body just reaches a limit and says that it has had enough. Unfortunately, for many this could be a fatal breaking point.

Ensuring that you have a good night’s sleep greatly reduces the odds of having injuries and/or death related to your body not being able to be at rest. While it is hard for many to get this needed rest, it can be done. Below are a healthy living guide to how you can get a full night’s rest and have better and healthier living.

Stick to a work schedule

This may sound a bit idealistic, but it can be done. Do not work past a certain time. If you work in the morning make your shift end at a certain time, don’t carry your shift over 8 hours. It is not healthy. Those that work night shifts should ensure that you do not double up on your shifts for that extra time and money. If you have to do 12 hour shifts ensure that you have the weekends to recover.  Your health is worth more than money.

Do not eat within an hour of going to bed

Indigestion and weight gain can occur from eating and then trying to go directly to sleep. Also, you may experience weird dreams and nightmares from certain foods (strange but true). The best practice is to eat at least two hours before going to bed.

Take a warm bath or shower

As sleep is intended to heal the body and to give it rest, a warm or hot shower can help to jump-start the process. Warm water relaxes the muscles and “unknots” them. Remember, ice is for injury and heat heals. Adding heat to your back after a long day of sitting down may just be the thing you need before lying down to rest. Running some warm water on your neck is also a great way to relax. Do be careful when running water on your face and neck as (generally we close our eyes) you may get disoriented upon raising your head back up or reopening your eyes.

Plan for 10 hours sleep and get 8

If you work 8 hours a day that leaves you with 16 hours to fulfill your day and your rest. Most people can get what they need done in 6 hours. Besides, you are probably pretty tired by the end of the day anyway. Only allowing yourself 5 to 7 hours is really only allotting 3 to 5 hours of time to sleep. Most people take an hour to two hours to fall asleep if they have not taken steps to train their mind and body to quickly do so. Starting out, you need to give yourself 10 hours to sleep (8 if you cannot do that). This will allow you to get 8 full hours should it take you 2 hours to get enough rest to go to sleep. As you get better at falling asleep you can reduce the hours to 8, but do not have to go below that.

Sleep is critical to healthy living and plays a very effective role in your effort to lose weight quickly. You cannot have a healthy exercise plan, healthy diet plan, or healthy lifestyle and overlook sleep. It is the reset button for the day. Avoiding a good night’s sleep is putting your health and your life at risk. Ensure that you get the best rest possible by following some of the above tips. I am sure that you will be better rejuvenated and better equipped to face your days if you do.

References for further Reading

http://www.pbs.org/program/retired-site/
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/tips-reduce-stress
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MyHeartandStrokeNews/Sleep-Apnea-and-Heart-Disease-Stroke_UCM_441857_Article.jsp
http://www.statisticbrain.com/sleeping-disorder-statistics/

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