The Foundation for Healthy Sleep Habits

Sleeping at least seven high-quality hours is essential for optimal health. Sleep gives you the foundation for all your daily habits and decisions.

Sleep deprivation can negatively affect your mood and temperament, as well as your ability to focus on daily tasks. Lack of sleep influences what and how much you eat. During the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep, your brain sorts the important information from the unimportant and files long-term memory. Sleeping fewer than seven hours a night is associated with weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression, among other health risks.

On the flip side, making sleep a priority might help you achieve your other wellness goals, such as stress management. When your body and mind are well-rested, you’ll be able to respond to life with greater perspective and understanding. Try these tips for getting better sleep and creating the foundation for your overall wellness.

Set a sleep goal. Aim to get at least seven hours of sleep a night so that you have the energy to tackle everyday demands.

Establish a regular bedtime and honor it. The first step to behavior change is making a commitment toward what you want to accomplish and sticking to your plan.

Eat healthier foods. The next time you find yourself mindlessly snacking, ask yourself if you may be tired rather than hungry. It’s common to mistake fatigue or emotions for hunger.

Ease into sleep. Try deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, gentle stretching, or guided imagery to help focus your attention away from worries and into the present. If your busy mind keeps you awake, jot down your thoughts in a journal or on a pad of paper by your bed.

Tips courtesy of Mayo Clinic[i]