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Sleep is an essential component for overall health, as it effects every major function of your body.  From repairing muscle tissue and strengthening your body against illness and disease, such things as stress levels and body weight may also be affected when you don’t catch enough Z’s.

According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, “your body manages and requires sleep in much the same way that it regulates the need for eating, drinking, and breathing.”  That said, if you have a tendency to run yourself ragged and not make ample time for rest, your body will certainly let you know.  Sometimes your daily routine may be the culprit, so consider making changes more in alignment with improved sleep since you will benefit in every area of your life from getting enough of it!

As an adult, if you’re not getting the suggested 7-8 hours nightly, you may experience such things as:

  • Poor performance in the gym, on the field and in bed (yes, I do mean sex!)
  • Intensified cravings of unhealthy foods
  • Difficulty paying attention and focusing
  • Increased depression, stress anxiety and overall mood
  • Likely to be more accident prone
  • Lowered immune system
  • Increased risk of diabetes and heart disease

Things to help you relax and settle in a bit easier:

  • Exercise daily
  • Stick to a consistent schedule as much as possible
  • Shut down your electronics an hour before desired bedtime
  • Eliminate caffeine after 3:00 pm
  • Heavy foods that will irritate your digestion close to bedtime
  • Alcohol if you are sensitive to it
  • Meditation, yoga, breathing exercises or a light stretch
  • Speak to a sleep specialist if you think you may have an undiagnosed sleep disorder