Nobody says “I can’t wait to lose an hour of sleep.” March 13th begins daylight savings, meaning we set our clocks forward, losing a precious hour of Z’s. On the bright side, signs of a new season are springing forward and we can look forward to a brighter commute home. Coincidentally, this week of forced sleep sacrifice is also the week of Sleep Awareness. Are you aware that more than 1/3 of adults in the United States are not meeting their sleep needs (CDC)? In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is declaring lack of sleep to be a real public health issue!

Sleep is so important to us because it not only recharges our internal battery and allows us to be productive at work, but because consistently skimping on sleep is associated with obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, frequent mental distress, and mortality (CDC). The benefits of sleep include but are not limited to improvements in memory, creativity, physical and mental performance, attention, and weight management/loss and reduction in stress levels, depression, and inflammation.

Check out Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to learn more about the importance of sleep.

10 Ways to Hit the Hay

  1. Cut off caffeine at noon
  2. Avoid eating heavy meals near bedtime. Eat foods with a combination of protein and tryptophan such as turkey, nuts, oats, and lentils
  3. Take a hot shower or bath a few hours before bed to let your body temp drop
  4. Find a bedtime yoga or stretching routine
  5. Turn off electronics at least 30 minutes before bed
  6. Dim the lights around bedtime to promote melatonin production
  7. Shut out all light, including that electric alarm clock
  8. Set the thermostat below 70 degrees
  9. Stop the sound- use a thick rug, heavy blinds, or a white noise machine
  10. Keep calm and remove all work from your room

Reasons to REM

  • Getting adequate hours is crucial for road safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported tiredness to be more deadly than alcohol impairment.
  • Sleep can reduce stress levels and help to control blood pressure and possibly cholesterol levels, which contribute to heart health.
  • Sleep is slimming! A study at the University of Chicago found that well rested dieters lost more fat than their sleep deprived counterparts (2010). Sleep deprivation is linked to an appetite driving hormone called Ghrelin.

For more reasons to sleep sound tonight visit Health.com.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health.com, UChicago News. CNN Health, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,  LifeWork Strategies, and Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.