Being healthy is not only about eating right and exercising (although those things are super important).
In addition to eating well, it is also important to nourish your life with good self-care. Good self-care includes making sure you get adequate sleep! You can eat all the dark leafy greens in the world, and still not be the healthiest best version of you, if you are not getting enough sleep.
Benefits of Getting Adequate Sleep...
How Do I Figure Out How Much Sleep I Need?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends between 7 and 9 hours of sleep for adults each day. Sadly, most people get only 6 or less. As with anything else, the best way to figure out how much YOU need as an individual person, is to experiment and pay attention to your own body. What works well and is healthy for one person, may work horribly for you. (The same principle applies to diet and exercise too!)
On a day when you do not have to be up at a particular time (like on a weekend), allow yourself to wake up naturally, without an alarm and without depending on caffeine to get your day started. How do you feel and function throughout the day? Pay attention to how you feel both mentally AND physically. Doing this a few times will help you determine whether 7, 8, or 9 hours feel best for you.
For me personally, I have noticed over time that I function and feel my best with almost 9 hours of sleep. This is not always possible, but I make efforts to make it happen as often as I can. When I do, my workouts are stronger, I have more energy, I am very productive, and my mood is positive. When I don't, I have trouble focusing and concentrating on both physical and mental tasks, I am more likely to make unhealthy food choices, I tend to get drowsy behind the wheel, and my mood is irritable.
My Kickass Tips for Improved Sleep
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Megan Ántoni Placa, MS, CNS