By Jenna H., RDN, CDN
Sleep is necessary for overall health. It helps us feel energized, avoid sickness, and recharge our brains so that we can function properly. Without enough sleep, it may be difficult to concentrate and process new information. We may also experience changes in our overall mood, increased stress levels, and irritability.
Most adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep. Lack of sleep is linked to a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
People who don’t get enough sleep might not realize how it is affecting them, because it feels normal to their routine. It is important to be aware of this and consider how sleeping habits can be improved.
What Happens When We Don't Get Enough Sleep?
- Stress hormones rise
- We become less sensitive to insulin
- Inflammation in the body rises
- Changes in hormone levels lead to mood swings
- Hunger increases the next day
All of these things can increase blood sugar. When we are tired and hungry, we are more likely to reach for food high in sugar and carbs for more energy. This will also lead to spikes in blood sugar.
How Does Sleep Help Blood Sugar Management?
- Restores the body’s natural functions and regulates hormones
- Regulates our appetite, helping us to choose more balanced meals
- Increases energy, which can help improve movement/activity throughout the day
- Regulates mood and stress levels
How Can You Improve Your Sleep Habits?
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.
- Make sure your mattress, pillow, and bedding are comfortable.
- Reduce distractions from light and sound.
- Keep your room at a comfortable temperature. Most doctors recommend between 60-67 degrees.
- Give yourself a break from electronics (like television, computers, cell phone) at least 30 minutes before bed. The light from these devices can cause you to feel more alert, making falling asleep difficult.
- Avoid consuming alcohol, caffeine, or large meals a few hours before bedtime.
- Practice a relaxing routine before bed like reading, journaling, stretching, meditation, or yoga.
Sleep plays a major role in keeping our bodies and minds working at their best, boosting our overall health and wellbeing.
Looking for more tips? Talk with your DayTwo guide or dietitian to discuss ways to improve your daily sleep habits.