Both quality and duration of sleep are fundamental components of good health. Numerous studies have demonstrated the negative impacts of insufficient sleep (quality and/or duration), and we've all felt the acute effects: low energy, irritability, decreased physical and cognitive performance, and increased appetite and sugar cravings. The reason is that even just one night of poor sleep can significantly impair hormone function, including those that regulate appetite, satiety, blood sugar regulation, and stress. On a chronic level, poor sleep can become a major factor in determining risk of virtually every chronic disease. So what can we do about it?
We'll be spending this first week working on our "sleep hygiene," a collection of habits and practices that help to facilitate quality sleep. Tonight we will be focused on the following:
- Create your Sleep Sanctuary: the optimal sleeping environment is quiet, cool, and as dark as possible. Consider black out curtains, ear plugs, and/or ambient noise machines.
- Avoid eating within 2-3 hours of bedtime: digestion requires a large portion of the body's energy, and eating too close to bedtime can impair both digestion and sleep quality.
- Airplane Mode: low-level electromagnetic fields (or EMFs) emitted by cell phones and other electronics can seriously impact sleep quality. For this, and other reasons which I'll touch on later in the course, I always make sure to put my phone in airplane mode before turning in for the night. If possible, I also recommend shutting down your WiFi each night for the same reasons!
That's it for tonight; sleep tight!