Sleep. (You know, that thing everyone complains they never get enough of?) Yep, getting quality shut-eye is actually just as crucial to your healthy-everything aspirations as getting in your daily steps and making time for self care. In fact, the holistic health triangle shows three crucial elements contributing to your well-being: nutrition, exercise, and (you guessed it) sleep.
So if your goal is to totally crush healthy living in 2018, a recent study by Mattress Firm suggests that sleep could be the key to success. The study found that those who exercise four or more times per week are also the ones who make it a priority to get the recommended amount of sleep each night.
Still not convinced? Take it from an expert. Sujay Kansagra, MD, director of Duke University’s sleep medicine program and Mattress Firm sleep health expert, says failing to get the recommended seven to nine hours a night can be seriously detrimental.
"Areas affected [by sleep deprivation] include heart health, immune function, and appetite regulation. The list goes on and on."
"The most notable manifestation is fatigue, but mood often suffers, as does the attention span," Dr. Kansagra says. "Other areas affected include heart health, immune function, and appetite regulation. The list goes on and on."
So if you really want to be the healthiest version of you, prioritizing sleep is a must (that means seven to nine hours). Here's how to do it.
Scroll down for three ways to make sleep your top wellness priority this year.
Turn off the tech
News flash: Sleep is not optional. (Remember how terrible you felt after pulling those all-nighters in college?). But even post-grad, many people still treat sleep like something they don't have time for.
"Sleep is often felt to be a flexible part of the day’s schedule," Dr. Kansagra says. "If there is too much work to get done or other priorities at night (like binging your favorite show on Netflix), sleep is often sacrificed."
"If there is too much work to get done or other priorities at night (like binging your favorite show on Netflix), sleep is often sacrificed."
His solution? Ditch the screen time before bed. Dr. Kansagra recommends avoiding blue light from devices like smartphones and TV for 30 minutes before going to sleep. Instagram can wait until the a.m.
Make your bedroom extra comfy
The good news is, it doesn't take long to see the benefits of proper rest (like increased energy, improved mood, and heightened efficiency at work). Plus, all that extra energy means you'll be more likely to hit up that pre-work yoga class or cook yourself a healthy dinner in lieu of takeout.
One of the easiest ways to tap into those benefits is turning your bedroom into a sleepy-time oasis. Diffusing lavender essential oils, treating yourself to super-soft sheets, and upgrading your mattress are all ways to ensure your sleep space has max comfy vibes.
"The right mattress can be a game-changer to ensure good quality of sleep."
"The right mattress can be a game-changer to ensure good quality of sleep," Dr. Kansagra says. "If you are uncomfortable at night, you may not get into the deeper stages of sleep and wake up unrefreshed."
Mattress Firm has a huge assortment of the comfiest mattresses in the game from brands including Serta, Beautyrest, Dream Bed Lux, tulo, and Sleepy’s (and with a mattress to fit every snoozer's style and budget, swapping out your lumpy old one is a no-brainer).
Get in a sweat sesh
Did we mention exercise and quality sleep go hand in hand? According to the Mattress Firm study, adults who exercise are more likely to fall asleep easily and stay asleep than non-exercisers.
Luckily, it takes just one to three hours of movement a week to notice a difference in your sleep quality (so two-a-days are def not required), according to the research.
Adults who exercise are more likely to fall asleep easily and stay asleep than non-exercisers.
But if you're into over-achieving, the study found that people who work out four plus hours a week are 50 percent more likely to wake up feeling alert. Time to book that boxing class you've been putting off?
Top Photo: Stocksy/Lumina
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