Sleep. Nice healthy sleep. If you’re like me, you could use more of it! According to the CDC – the Centers for Disease Control – 35% of US adults aren’t getting enough! The recommended amount of sleep per night is 7-8 hours. What happens to our bodies when we don’t get that recommended amount? I know with finals coming up, this might be good to know in the event that you find yourself awake at night, stressing over your next exam.
- You get sick! Losing sleep can target your body’s ability to fight off illnesses.
- Your heart pays. Getting too little sleep (less than 5 hours) and getting too much (more than 9 hours) have been shown to have a negative impact on heart health. Your chances of developing coronary heart disease or having a stroke are greatly increased with less sleep.
- Risk for cancer increases. Too little sleep is welcoming to different types of cancers such as breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and also prostate cancer.
- You forget stuff and can’t think properly. Even missing just one night of sleep can mess with your cognitive function. Not only can it damage your thinking, it can also make your memory impaired as well. In other words, we need adequate sleep to lock in new information and commit it to memory.
- You pack on the pounds! Research shows that people who don’t get enough sleep are at a larger risk for obesity.
- Your appearance suffers. If all of these effects don’t do it and make you want to change for the better, then perhaps this one will! Having not enough sleep can cause premature wrinkles and dark circles. It can also cause uneven skin tone.
So, with all of this information, you must be ready and willing to make a change. How – do you ask? Here is a list of things you can do to get more sleep, in case you’re having trouble.
- Avoid caffeine at night time and also limit yourself during the day. Caffeine is only used to help people stay awake, therefore, if consumed at night, it’ll only worsen your ability to fall asleep at a decent time.
- No alcohol before bed! Yes, alcohol is a downer. However, it also keeps your mind going in an opposite direction as opposed to winding down before bed.
- Don’t sleep in on the weekends or when you have late class. Wake up close to the same time everyday so that your body and mind get used to the schedule.
- Try different decaf coffees or teas to help nurture yourself into sleeping. I know that when I drink something hot or warm at night, it instantly gives me all the warm and fuzzies and makes me feel comforted and ready for bed.
- Try working out during the day to wear yourself out! Being tired is half the battle, after all 🙂
- Put books and homework away at least 30 minutes before bedtime. When you’re stuck thinking about tomorrow’s exam that’s in store, it’s probably extremely hard to get sleepy!
- Listen to a meditation video on Youtube! Just go to Youtube.com and type in “meditation video” in the search bar, press play, close your eyes, and do what they say. You’ll be relaxed in no time!
Now that you have these tools, you should be good to go and able to catch up on your z’s! Good luck!