Quick! What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a healthy lifestyle? Eating right? Exercising? What about your sleep habits?
Sleep plays a larger role in our health than we typically realize or like to admit. Unfortunately, the modern lifestyle doesn’t really prioritize it — with as many as one-third of adults in the US not catching nearly enough Z’s. We live in a 24-hour society, and a regular sleep schedule too often takes a backseat as we try to make the most of both our work and leisure time.
A healthier lifestyle
Poor sleep habits can increase the risk of health issues like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. Sleep deprivation increases ghrelin, sometimes called the hunger hormone — and, when you feel hungrier, you’re more likely to develop an unhealthy diet. Similarly, a lack of sleep can reduce leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full. Unhealthy dietary habits can then lead to an increased body mass index (BMI), which may result in obesity and contribute to developing prediabetes.
Sleep habits also affect insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. In studies of young, otherwise healthy adults, just 4 or 5 days of inadequate sleep was associated with a 25% to 30% decrease in insulin sensitivity. Just as poor sleep habits may increase the risk for diabetes, diabetes can worsen sleep disorders. Fortunately, there are ways to promote a better night’s sleep!
Although it may sound like a fancy term for taking a shower before bed, sleep hygiene describes the healthy habits people develop to promote sleep. Good sleep hygiene includes dietary factors, including foods that can promote healthy sleep like milk, cherries, kiwis, nuts, and rice. Other ways to improve sleep hygiene include:
- Establishing a relaxing evening routine to reinforce the mindset that it’s time for bed
- Keeping the bedroom dark, quiet, and cool for comfort
- Exercising regularly during the day makes it easier to sleep at night
- Powering off devices like phones, tablets, and computers that stimulate the mind 30 minutes before bedtime
- Avoiding large meals late at night so that you’re not digesting at bedtime
- Limiting stimulants like caffeine and nicotine that can keep you up
- Reducing alcohol consumption, which can disrupt sleep later in the night
A healthy lifestyle includes exercising and eating right, but it all starts with a good night’s sleep. So, rest easy by incorporating some of these sleep hygiene practices!
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We’ve partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to offer the National Diabetes Prevention Program. This program includes both telehealth and digital care services, including video and online programming. Visit Prevent Diabetes for more information. You can also contact us at 1-844-326-3043 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., MST, Monday through Friday, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The National Diabetes Prevention Program is offered by Tabula Rasa HealthCare and the APhA Foundation and is funded by the CDC.
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