Friday Fit Tip: get enough sleep

Did you know that the amount of sleep you get each night plays an important role in your overall health and well-being? There are so many benefits to catching those zzz’s!

  1. Improve your memory. While you sleep, you can strengthen memories or skills that you learned while you were awake. This is called consolidation. According to Dr. Rapport, associate professor at NYU Langone Medical Center, “If you are trying to learn something, whether it’s physical or mental, you can learn it to a certain point with practice. But something happens while you sleep that makes you learn better.” So I guess all those late nights cramming for exams didn’t actually benefit me… Learn from my mistakes and rest up to help you learn new things!
  2. Improve your athletic/gym performance. If you are an athlete or spend time being active, sleep can help improve your performance. Snoozing long enough improves action time, motor function, motivation, risk of injury and even muscle recovery time. sleep
  3. Maintain a healthy weight. Did you know that maintaining a healthy weight and being well rested go hand-in-hand?! Think about it- when you’re overtired, you have less energy to go for a run or cook a healthy meal after work. This is also physiological. The hormone leptin is responsible for making you feel full after you eat. When you are overtired, your leptin levels are lower. As a result, people who lack sleep are hungrier and tend to crave high-calorie foods.
  4. Say goodbye to stress! Getting a good night’s sleep allows you to handle any stress you may face more easily. Usually, when you are overtired, you are less patient and more easily upset, which can easily increase your stress levels.
  5. Avoid those germs! Getting enough sleep helps to improve your overall immune system. Lack of sleep surpasses the immune system, which can potentially lead to a greater risk of developing a cold or flu, according to Diwakar Balachandran, director of the Sleep Center at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Being overtired also plays a role in our we fight illness once we come down with it as well. More sleep = better immune system response.

It’s true- sleep really is the key to success in so many areas of our lives. If you struggle getting enough sleep at night, start slow. Set a reminder on your phone and try to get in bed just 15 minutes earlier than normal. Slowly you can add a few more minutes on as you get used to climbing into bed earlier. Give it a try and see how your life improves!

Seven to nine hours of sleep are recommended for the average adult. How much sleep do you get on average? What tips do you have for being well-rested? Share your suggestions and experiences in the comments below!

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