Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Beyond the Gym---Sleep Tips

1. Knowing How Much Sleep You Need
Adults should sleep at least seven hours of sleep in order to maintain optimal health. According to the research conducted by the Center for Disease Control, "more than 1/3 of Americans fail to meet that minimum on a regular basis."
Every person is unique and an exact specified quantity of sleep might not be just what you need.  It is important to take into consideration not only the quality of your sleep, but also the timing.
In order to determine what is best for you, Dr. Charlene Gamaldo, the medical director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep, suggests an experiment. Go to bed when you’re sleepy (and can fall asleep within 30 minutes of crawling under the covers) and sleep until you wake naturally, without an alarm clock. If you sleep soundly and don’t feel sleepy during day, you’ve hit on your ideal sleep timing and duration.  
It might take several attempts to nail this one but the effort will pay off.
Everyone sleeps better when they've have a physically productive day.  Research published in the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity found those who engaged in the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity weekly had better sleep quality and less daytime sleepiness than their more sedentary peers. The take-away is that intense activity appears to increase the quality of our deep sleep pattern.  As a result, we feel more rested and repaired.
3. Unplug from Devices
Browsing Facebook, Netflix, Email, and the like tends to suppress the release of our sleep hormone, melatonin.  This interrupts the sleep cycle and can have a profound effect on the quality of our sleep.  Furthermore, getting all pumped up while binge watching The Walking Dead can really impact pleasant dreams. :)  Gamaldo suggests "a no-screens-in-the-bedroom rule".
New research predicts that by 2021, most Americans will be using fitness trackers commonly worn on the wrist.  
Despite the valuable data they can provide, there is quite a bit of information that should be mainly viewed as anecdotal.  They do, indeed, track wonderful quantities of information.  It is important to note that the information is not all considered helpful if it results in a sense of "anxiety and insomnia because you’re so hyper-vigilant about your sleep stats.”
So, while the information can help you be more aware and vigilant about your sleep pattens, don't fret so much about the details that you inhibit your ability to actually enjoy yourself and rest.  Your health may just depend on it. 
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