So who knew that getting enough sleep was super important if you are trying to be healthier? It’s true – you need eight or maybe even nine hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. When you are able to get that, your brain is sharper, AND your body is stronger, with a faster metabolism! Strong body plus faster metabolism equals a healthier body and weight.
Here’s what to do:
1. Drink little to no caffeine. That means most tea and soda, even diet. If you are going to drink even a little, drink it before 2:00 in the afternoon.
2. Decide ahead of time what time you want to go to bed, based on what time you need to get up.
3. Set a timer or alarm for 30 minutes BEFORE that time!
4. When that timer goes off, wrap up anything left undone like homework, phone calls, txt’ing, computer time, cleaning, getting ready for tomorrow, TV shows.
5. Turn the TV off! TV interrupts your sleep even if you don’t realize it.
6. Have a dark, quiet room. If you are nervous or used to noise and light, try a very dim nightlight (not your TV, that’s too bright) and a box fan or soft, calm music with no words.
7. Enjoy your sleep!
Even in the summer, it’s a good idea to get this much sleep at night. 3am to 11am doesn’t work nearly as well because your body recognizes the daylight and doesn’t sleep as soundly.
Try it! Add a good night’s sleep to healthy food and good activity, and see how your body responds.
Martha Nelson, PA-c is a physician’s assistant with the Healthy Lifestyles Program at Duke University. The program focuses on empowering kids and families with the skills and knowledge needed to live a life of healthy eating and active lifestyles.