The quality of our sleep plays an important role in our overall health and fitness. Creating good habits to improve our sleep can help us stay healthy, stay fit and perform our best in our day to day lives. Conversely, if we maintain unhealthy lifestyles like becoming overweight and living sedentary lifestyles, we can become unhealthy and create other conditions that lead to poor sleep.
Good sleep hygiene is the foundation of a good night’s sleep. Avoiding caffeine 4-6 hours before bed, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and removing electronics from the bedroom such as TV’s and computer from the bedroom promote a better quality of sleep. Keeping active even with small amounts of exercise can lead to improved sleep. If we do not exercise enough, becoming overweight can increase the amount of excess tissue in our airway which could lead to airway obstructions during sleep as we breathe throughout the night. Although exercise is great, it can be contradictory if we workout too close to bedtime because of the release of endorphins which make initiating sleep more difficult. For those with insomnia working out earlier in the day could also aid in getting to sleep at night much easier.
In conclusion, we can take easy steps toward better overall health through our sleep. Losing about 10% of excess body weight, exercising daily and creating a healthy sleeping environment are just a few easy steps we can take to ensure we all sleep well.