A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports has found that good sleeping habits are important for heart health, as well as optimal metabolism. The study looked at sleeping patterns of 2,000 adults between the ages of 54 and 93 and found that those with irregular bedtimes tended to have a higher body mass index, higher blood sugar levels, higher blood pressure, and were more likely to have a heart attack or stroke in the following decade than individuals with regular sleeping patterns.
This isn’t the first time a study has indicated that going to bed and waking up at the same time every day is important for health. A study published last year reported that “social jet lag (the difference in sleep and waking times between the weekend and the weekdays) also raises the risk of heart disease.” Another study published in 2015 showed a link between sleeping patterns and the development of Alzheimer’s.
Although the study doesn’t show if the lack of healthy sleeping patterns is the cause of cardiometabolic problems, or if the health conditions affect sleep, establishing healthy lifestyle patterns will benefit both.
Here are some tips to help you get a good night’s sleep.
1. Schedule your sleep. Try to go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time in the morning, even on the weekends.
2. Your bedroom is your sanctuary; it is not a place to work, catch up on Grey’s Anatomy, or exercise. It is a place to relax and get some sleep. Invest in a good mattress and linens and make your bed as comfy and as inviting as possible. Sometimes white noise can help, so try a fan – the constant hum may lull you to sleep!
3. Stop the caffeine. It is a vicious cycle – you are exhausted from a sleepless night, so you load up on coffee to get you through the day, and then it is difficult to get to sleep in the evening. Limit caffeine to the morning and drink herbal teas the rest of the day.
4. Get moving. Exercise promotes sounder sleep, but don’t do it just before bedtime, or you may be extra alert.
5. Drink milk. Milk contains magnesium, a natural relaxant. It also contains tryptophan, an amino acid that may enhance sleepiness. If you don’t eat dairy, you can also try the supplements.
6. Try aromatherapy. Some people find that lavender is effective for promoting sleep. Spray a little lavender in the air or on your pillow before going to bed. Badger Balm makes a wonderful lip balm called Sleep Balm. Moisturize your lips, and place some on your temples before going to bed!
7. Talk to a Village Green consultant about what supplements are available for sound sleep. There are many, and we can help you pick the right one for your needs.
It can take a while to get into good sleep habits. But rest assured, these tips are worth a good night’s sleep.
Photo from here, with thanks.