How do you start your morning? Do you jump out of bed at the crack of dawn, race around the house and out the door with barely enough time to eat breakfast or pack lunch? If this sounds like you, then keep reading. If you are lucky enough to wake up gently, cook breakfast from scratch, pack lunches for the entire family, and leave the house with 15 minutes to spare, then please share your secret!
The truth is, stress is taxing on your health in more ways than one. There is emotional and mental stress, physical stress, and biochemical stress, and all types of stress are bad for your health. Stress is linked to obesity and sleep deprivation. Obesity is linked to diabetes and sleep apnea. Certain processes in your body only happen at night, when you are asleep. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you may be stressed out.
It is unrealistic to think you can eliminate all types of stress from your life, but many diseases can be avoided by replacing unhealthy habits with healthy ones that reduce your stress level and improve your overall health.
Here are some examples to improve your sleep quality, reduce your stress, and shrink your waistline.
Spend 5 minutes doing mindful breathing, meditation, journaling, or gentle stretching each morning or night. Change the things that are within your control. Plan your day ahead. Pack lunch the night before. Pick out your outfit the night before. Let the dirty dishes go. If you can go to bed without seeing a mental to-do list in your head, your brain will shut off faster and you’ll slip into a deep, restorative sleep.
Take a 20 minute walk every day. Play with the kids or your dog for 20 minutes. Do something that raises your heartrate for 20 minutes. Slowly increase the intensity or frequency of your work outs. Being physically active and fit will help you maintain a healthy wait and reduce physical stress on your joints, bones, and muscles. And, when your body is physically tired, you’ll sleep better.
Give your body the nutrients it needs to function. Drink 8 glasses (or 3 Liters) of water every day. Avoid alcohol, pop (even diet pop), caffeine, and sugar as much as possible. Talk to your doctor about changing your diet to reduce stress on your gut. Depression and anxiety cause chemical changes in the brain, but these can be reversed by balancing your diet and getting plenty of sleep.
Healthy sleep leads to healthy bodies. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep every day is just as important as eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, and exercise.
If you don’t think stress or obesity is the cause of your sleep issues, talk to your doctor or search for a local sleep medicine specialist.