Sleep Your Way to a Healthier Life

CBN.com - Living a healthy lifestyle takes real effort! From our dietary habits to proper exercise, we need to work at staying healthy. But what about sleep? It's a part of life that often doesn't get enough credit for its contribution to overall health. But it's also an area where, with just a few minor adjustments and a little effort, you can really improve your overall well-being.

Sleep is underrated in today's world. We live in a fast-paced culture. According to ABC News, Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world, but we also take fewer vacations. And many of us sacrifice adequate sleep in order to get ahead, or maybe just to keep up. Working the late shift, working a second job, staying up late to study or take care of household chores, getting up early to get the kids ready or to catch a train. Sound familiar? There are many reasons why we fail to get enough sleep. We are a sleep-deprived culture, and it's having an impact on our health. Studies show that lack of sleep not only affects concentration and alertness, it also increases risk for diabetes and obesity and impairs immune system function (healthysleeping.com). Dr. Eve Van Cauter, professor of endocrinology at the University of Chicago School of Medicine, says, "There is no animal, other than the human, that deprives itself of sleep. We can't adapt to sleeping too little because it's not part of our biology."

"Sleep restores our body, restores our minds, and helps us think better," according to Dr. Rafael Pelayo of Stanford University's Sleep Disorder Clinic.

Most experts agree that a good night's sleep equates to at least seven to eight hours. For many of us, that much sleep would be a rare treat! Or maybe we think we're doing just fine; that we don't really need that much sleep. Don't kid yourself. You need adequate sleep if you want to live a more energetic life and function at your physical and mental best.

Getting adequate sleep does not take a lot of work, but it will require some sacrifices. Maybe you don't need to watch that extra TV show, or read that extra magazine before bed. Think about your lifestyle and what you can eliminate from your schedule in order to allow more time for sleep. Your body will notice the difference, because you will gradually feel more energized during your waking hours! And who wouldn't rather feel more alive and energetic?

To help facilitate a good night's sleep, here are a few tips you should remember:

Keep a regular sleep schedule. God designed our bodies with a regular sleep-wake cycle, so it's important to maintain regularity in your sleep schedule. Don't confuse your body with erratic sleep patterns. Be consistent with your pattern of going to bed and waking up.

Eliminate all sound and light disturbances. The less distracted you are by your senses, the easier it is to sleep. If necessary, try wearing an eye mask or earplugs when you go to bed. Your body gets enough sensory overload during the day. Give your eyes and ears a rest at night!

Avoid eating before going to bed. That piece of cheesecake or bowl of ice cream at night will not only give you strange dreams it'll keep you from getting a good night's sleep! And avoid spicy foods because they can cause heartburn, making you more uncomfortable throughout the night. Eat an early dinner and only light, healthy snacks later in the evening.

Avoid caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant, producing a stimulating effect in your body, thus making it harder to fall asleep. Stimulants like caffeine actually cause a "spike and crash" roller-coaster syndrome in your body, ultimately contributing to greater fatigue. While people think it's providing an energetic boost, caffeine is actually not a healthy choice. To maintain an even-keeled energy level throughout the day, use supplements that are not stimulants. Many people use a natural substance from the beehive called Royal Jelly for added energy, stamina and vitality.* If you can't avoid caffeine completely, at least reduce your intake, and never drink caffeinated beverages within six to eight hours of going to bed.

Don't watch TV in bed. Sounds funny, right? Everybody has a TV in the bedroom. But the truth is, most of us tend to fall asleep while we watch TV in bed. You know the feeling -- your head starts to bob, your eyes start to get heavy. Next thing you know, you're waking up to some late-night infomercial or really bad movie. The problem is drifting off to sleep this way really doesn't provide your body with adequate rest. Even though you drift off and feel like you're sleeping, you remain distracted by the TV and you don't sleep as soundly as you would if you just shut the TV and lights off together.

Avoid exercise three hours before bedtime. Of course you need to exercise! Regular exercise has so many healthy benefits, including the fact that it makes it easier to fall asleep and contributes to sounder sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. But for the best night's sleep, don't exercise before bed. Strenuous exercise invigorates your body, gets your blood pumping and adrenaline flowing, and makes you more alert -- all good things -- except when it's time to sleep. That energized feeling you get from exercise tends to last for several hours, so you won't feel ready for bed even though your body needs the sleep. Hit the gym earlier in the day or evening, and give your body at least three hours of rest after exercise before you call it a night.

Keep track of how long it takes to get to sleep. If you're asleep before your head hits the pillow, something's wrong! If it takes less than five minutes to fall asleep, that's a pretty good sign that your body is sleep deprived. The ideal time it should take to fall asleep is between ten and fifteen minutes.

Good sleeping habits aren't hard to develop -- it just takes a little extra effort. But your body will thank you in the long run, as you enjoy the healthy benefits of adequate sleep and a more energized life!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. As with any natural product, individual results will vary.

For more information about Bee-Alive or Royal Jelly, please visit www.beealive.com.

If you purchase Bee-Alive Royal Jelly products, part of the proceeds support CBN ministries.



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