But for everyone, the ability to sleep soundly and wake refreshed is essential for good physical and mental health — as well as for safety and productivity.
One study found that losing 90 minutes of sleep reduces daytime alertness by nearly one-third. “Think about how important alertness is to safety and productivity,” said NP Gayle Rundus, from the Health Center at Warrior Coal. “If you’re getting only six and a half hours of quality sleep or less, you’ve already lost a third of your alertness, and you simply can’t afford it.”
For a good night’s sleep The National Sleep Foundation recommends:
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy or spicy meals in the two to three hours before bedtime.
- Practice a relaxing bedtime routine, away from bright lights and electronics (TV and computer screens), in the hour before bed.
- Create the right conditions for sleep: a cool, completely dark and quiet room with a comfortable bed.
While you’re sleeping…
- Your brain builds new pathways to help you learn and remember information.
- Your immune system becomes more efficient at fighting off disease and illness.
- Your blood pressure and heart rate decrease. In this more relaxed state, your heart and circulatory system go into repair mode.
- You burn fat and lose weight. Your body continues to use calories. Growth hormone boosts muscle mass and tells your fat cells to release energy.
- The discs in your spine recover from the weight of standing.
- Collagen and skin cell production increase. (Yes, there really is such a thing as beauty sleep!)
If you experience sleep problems that last more than a few weeks, see your Health Coach. Good health requires good sleep.