Poor sleep is no joke — not even a criminally corny one like this:
Q: Why is it a crime to delay going to bed?
A: Because you’re resisting a rest!
Seriously though, coming up short on shut-eye can undermine all your awesome efforts to look and feel healthier by rebooting your metabolism in the morning, afternoon, evening and during exercise. Studies have shown that losing sleep disrupts the way the body functions, which in turn can lead to weight gain and other health problems.
How much snooze time is enough? Health experts agree that most adults need somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep every night to feel refreshed. Get the sleep you need, and so many everyday things get better: your mental sharpness, memory, mood and self-control. As a bonus, a host of health risks caused by lack of sleep are reduced: heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, erectile dysfunction and low testosterone.
If you’re not getting the Zs you need to stay healthy, these 5 simple tips can help ensure you do:
Put screens to bed, too
Be sure to ban the TV, smartphone and computer from the bedroom, as these devices are stimulating. The blue light they emit can increase your body’s resistance to the hormone insulin, a recent study shows, which can lead to weight gain by making it more difficult for your body to clear sugar from your bloodstream.
Keep it dark, clean and cool
Because the human body is programmed to wake when it’s light and sleep when it’s night, you should keep the bedroom dark and cover the bright lights of any electronics. A clean sleeping space also helps induce slumber, as does keeping the bedroom should be cooler than the rest of your home (about 15-18 degrees Celsius).
Nix the booze and spicy food
Don’t be fooled by alcohol’s sedative effects – they actually thwart a good night’s sleep. Heavily spiced food, or even a heavy meal, can also disturb sleep.
Coffee, tea and nicotine will wreck your sleep patterns, so switch to decaffeinated drinks in the afternoon and nix the cigarettes. Even chocolate, which contains a stimulant similar to caffeine, can hinder a good night’s slumber.
Stick to a routine
Turning in at about the same time every night can help you enjoy a good night’s sleep. A wild weekend can throw your sleep routine off.
Wondering how to reboot your metabolism at other times of day? Check out these easy morning, afternoon and evening tips, as well as these ones for making the most of exercise.
Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. His award-winning stories have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines like Explore, Reader’s Digest, International Traveller and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN, MSN Canada, and DontChangeMuch.ca. Visit Adam’s website for more details on his award winning work.