9. Get proper sleep
This may seem obvious, but sleep is imperative to good health. Our bodies rest and recharge while we sleep, enabling us to function at our best the next day. Sleep is an essential physiological process for humans and animals alike, and when we lack sleep we grow irritable, tired and cranky. We become prone to making mistakes, lacking the ability to focus or concentrate on school or work. Sleep can improve memory, lower inflammation, influence creativity, and even help with weight loss.
We spend around one-third of our lives asleep, but what actually happens when we sleep is unknown to the majority of people. During sleep, we go through two different stages, both of which serve a purpose. Non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep is the first stage, followed by rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep, the stage in which we dream. Our body continues to work even when we’re in the deepest of sleep. The brain starts processing the information it learned throughout the day, solidifying that knowledge into memory, hormone levels are regulated, heart rate and blood pressure slows down, and we go into a state of relaxation and restoration.
Lack of good-quality sleep is caused by many things like stress, depression, anxiety, or sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy. Poor sleep can also contribute to weight gain, as sleep deprivation has been linked to craving junk food rather than healthy food. Lack of sleep also affects the immune system. Studies have shown that people who sleep less than 7 hours each night are nearly three times more susceptible to getting a cold.
Increasing the quality of sleep can improve health, improve sex life, lower the risk of injury, improve mood and clear the mind. If your sleeping pattern is out of whack, you might need to completely overhaul your sleep habits in order to get a good night’s rest. This includes doing things like sticking to a sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time each morning and night (even on the weekends), and creating a soothing pre-bed ritual that gives your body time to slow down and make it easier to drift off to sleep. Make sure your bedroom is at a comfortable temperature, and you have a comfortable mattress, pillows, and bedding.