If I asked you to list your number one life goal, what would it be? While financial and professional goals are important, what’s the one thing that holds most important to you? Probably your health and happiness, right? Well, the truth is, our health is the foundation of all things! When we’re healthy (and happy), those secondary goals seemingly become much easier to accomplish. But, wellness is a lifelong journey — it won’t happen overnight! Achieving that optimal state of health is an accumulation of lifestyle factors and small daily efforts that add up to big changes over time. And, one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle? Sleep!! The benefits of better sleep can be seen in all aspects of your life. To put it simply, good sleep is truly life-changing.
So, why is sleep that important? Keep scrolling to find out.
Why Sleep is So Important
There’s quite literally no other factor that improves our health as much as sleep. Of course, a healthy diet, exercise, stress reduction, and overall balance play an important role, but if you think about it, all of these factors are directly tied to sleep.
Without the proper shut-eye, all of these healthy lifestyle factors won’t have the beneficial results we’re looking for! Let the research speak for itself — poor sleep can lead to:
- Reduced fitness recovery and performance
- Increased risk of injury and illness
- Increased cortisol levels
- Increased food cravings
- Disruptions in blood sugar regulation
As you can see, sleep is KEY! The benefits of better sleep are profound, so we’re shouting it from the rooftop! Everyone deserves to know why a proper snooze can improve your quality of life.
So, read on for everything you need to know (and then spread the word!).
6 Ways Better Sleep Can Improve Your Quality of Life
Increases Energy and Focus
While it may seem obvious, one of the biggest benefits of sleep is increased energy and focus! Taking care to recharge your batteries gives your body adequate time to recover, rebuild, and repair. More energy means you’ll have the willpower to improve your quality of life by tackling those long-term and short-term goals. Plus, increased sleep means increased productivity and motivation, meaning we may have more time for self-care and to tackle everything on our daily to-do list.
Boosts Immunity and Reduces Risk of Illness
When it comes to boosting immunity and building our defense, every hour of sleep matters! In fact, sacrificing just one hour of sleep can increase your risk of illness by up to four times! According to research, sleepers who slept 6 hours or less a night were 4.2 times more likely to get sick and catch a cold versus those who got 7 hours of sleep. And, that’s just one hours difference… imagine if it was more!
While you’re snoozing away, your body produces cytokines, a protein responsible for targeting inflammation and creating an immune response. So you see, lack of sleep leaves our immune system vulnerable to pathogenic invasion — something we’re all trying to avoid! A strong immune system means a healthier, happier you.
Improves Mood and Boosts Happiness
Do you ever feel more irritable or emotional after a night of less than ideal sleep? That’s because your sleep habits are directly related to your mood. Even a single night of sleep loss can lead to fatigue, irritability, and unsavory emotions like anger or frustration. And, if repeated long enough, lack of sleep can lead to more serious health issues like depression and anxiety.
But, the good news is proper sleep can have the opposite effect! The benefits of better sleep? A boost in your mood, motivation, happiness, and even your confidence!
Inspires a More Motivated You
When it comes to motivation, energy and drive are key factors. If you’re fatigued, distracted, and just not feeling like your best self, it’s easy to lose motivation and let your goals fall to the side. But remember how good it feels to crush your goals and dream big! Getting adequate sleep not only boosts your motivation but it can also help prevent burnout. Before you go to bed, write down one small goal for the next day. It will help set your future day up for success while clearing your mind for a restful night’s sleep.
Supports Weight Loss Goals
Did you know increased sleep could help you reach your weight loss goals faster? On the other hand, jeopardizing even one week of sleep has the opposite effect. So, maximize your time under the sheets! Some of the benefits of better sleep include healthier overall food choices and fewer cravings.
Stress is a sneaky culprit that can wreak havoc on your life. But, getting better sleep can help. When you regulate your circadian rhythm and maintain a healthy sleep cycle, cortisol levels decrease.
8 Tips For Better Sleep
Make Your Space a Sleep Sanctuary
Think of your bedroom at your sleep sanctuary — set your sleep environment up for a restful night. Make your sleep environment dark, cool, and quiet. Research suggests a temperature of 60-70 degrees F, ambient sounds or low noise disturbances, and a bedroom free of devices or artificial light.
Unclutter Your Mind
If you’ve ever gone to bed with a scattered mind, you know your sleep pays the price. There’s a reason this is at the top of our list! Stress is a sneaky culprit that wreaks havoc on our health. Here are some simple tips to help you unclutter your mind before bed.
- Wind down with a calming evening meditation.
- Keep a journal next to your bed and brain dump all of your thoughts.
- Plan your to-do list for the next day before you go to bed! This will allow your brain to shut off instead of running through your future schedule.
Avoid Coffee Later In the Day
While coffee’s energizing effects peak 30-45 minutes after consumption, that buzz from your cup of joe remains in your system longer than you think! Caffeine has a half-life of about 5 to 6 hours — this is the amount of time it takes for caffeine to be reduced to half the amount consumed. Meaning, if you consume a cup of coffee at 3 pm, there’s a good chance you’ll still be feeling the effects at 9 o’clock!
If you’re a coffee connoisseur, try to limit your caffeine intake to the morning. This will help prevent disruptions in your sleep.
Be Mindful About Late-Night Snacks
If you’re a victim to the late-night munchies, you’re not alone! There’s something about an evening snack that’s just soothing to the soul.
While a light snack with sleep-supporting nutrients can promote a healthy slumber, some foods have the opposite effect. Heavy foods that are high in calories, sugar, fat, and processed carbs are hard to digest and can be problematic for your sleep cycle.
If you find yourself hungry before bed, consider a good-for-you snack like an apple with almond butter or one of these healthy late-night snacks instead of something high in sugar or difficult to digest.
Sip on Sleep-Supporting Herbal Tea
While coffee is an evening no-no, we’re all about winding down the day with a soothing cup of herbal tea (so long as it’s caffeine-free!). Try sleep-supporting blends like Chamomile, or SleepyTime Tea.
Wind Down With Magnesium
Knowing magnesium is responsible for more than 600 enzymatic processes in the body, it should come as no surprise to learn it is an amazing supplement to support sleep. In fact, magnesium deficiency is related to sleep issues! This hard-working mineral aids sleep by helping you both fall asleep and stay asleep.
We love Natural Vitality Calm Magnesium. It has a slight carbonated effect and comes in (naturally-sweetened) yummy flavors like Raspberry-Lemon and Watermelon.
Incorporate Exercise into Your Routine
While a grounding evening routine is a great way to support a soothing slumber, sleep-enhancing practices don’t have to be done in the evening. In fact, your entire lifestyle has the potential to influence your quality and quantity of sleep. One thing worthy of incorporating into your day? Exercise! According to research, a routine exercise practice helps you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and get an overall better quality of rest.
Take an Epsom Salt Bath
Incorporating relaxing self-care practices into your evening routine (like a warm bath or shower) can help you *soak up* all the benefits of better sleep. Research suggests a warm bath 90 minutes before bed can improve the quality of sleep for both adults and the elderly.
So, draw a tub and wind down your evening!
Note: while any warming bath can be beneficial, soaking in an Epsom salt bath might be particularly effective. Epsom salt is a form of magnesium, which we now know has sleep-enhancing properties, so go ahead and sprinkle some into your evening soak!
Snooze Your Way to a Healthier & Happier You
If you’re realizing your sleep hygiene needs some work, you’re not alone! Use this guide as your motivation to prioritize your sleep cycle and, as a result, improve your quality of life.
Looking for more sleep tips to snooze your way to better health? Head to our Ultimate Sleep Guide!