Last week we talked about habits, what they are and how to go about turning bad habits into good ones.  This week we’re going to talk about the most foundational routines you can have that will help make you a happy, healthy and productive individual, Sleep.

Did you know that more than a third of Americans don’t get the recommended 7 hours of sleep each night?  A lack of adequate sleep can affect just about every area of our health and lives.  When we sleep our body regulates our hormones, so when we don’t get enough sleep our hormones can be out of whack, causing us to feel hungry even when we’re not among other things. In contrast, good sleep helps you eat less, can improve brain function, exercise performance and overall health. Because sleep is so foundational to our health and happiness we need to make it a priority to get good quality sleep.  So what does it mean to get good quality sleep, and how do we go about achieving it?

The latest research shows that the vast majority or adults need somewhere between 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.  These 7 to 8 hours need to be unbroken, continuous hours.  There are several things that can cause disruptions to this. One of the most common mistakes I see that prohibit people from getting enough sleep is just that they don’t go to bed early enough!  If you know that you have to get up at a certain time, say 7am you can just work backwards from there and know that in order to get 8 hours of sleep you need to be asleep by 11pm.  Here are some other tips for getting a good night’s rest:

  • Turn off your electronic devices, avoid mentally stimulating activities prior to bedtime.
  • Get daily exercise, studies have shown exercise to be more effective than prescription drugs at helping people fall asleep and stay asleep. 
  • Go to bed and wake up at a regular time each day, even on the weekends, this helps set the body’s circadian rhythms, you may not even need an alarm clock after a while.
  • Get your bedroom temp down to 62-68 degrees fahrenheit, studies have show that room temp plays a bigger role in a good night’s sleep than external noises.  
  • Don’t consume caffeine past noon, caffeine consumption even 6 hours before has been shown to have negative effects on sleep quality. 

 Bottom line, If you want to fend off chronic health conditions like type 2 diabetes and obesity, along with being highly productive and overall healthy, mentally and physically you’ll need to make sleep a top priority.