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Habits that harm a good night’s sleep

It can be tough to make time for sleep, especially when you’re trying to juggle family, friends and work commitments. But sleep is worth prioritizing.

Recent scientific advances reveal that sleep plays a role in the health of nearly every cell in our bodies. Irregular sleep schedules, not getting enough sleep, and poor-quality sleep also interfere with how well our cells and organs work together.

Frequent lack of sleep can affect our ability to fight off infections, cope with stress and regulate metabolism.

Sleep also contributes to brain health by shaping memories and restoring emotional energy that can influence relationships and motivation.

Adults need a regular schedule of seven to eight hours in bed each night, and they need good quality sleep. Scientists have discovered that while many people may feel awake after getting less sleep, sleeping for shorter periods of time or following an irregular sleep schedule does not help your organs work together at their best. How long you sleep, your schedule and the quality of your sleep all contribute to achieving your best health.

To achieve the best sleep, avoid the following:

  • Caffeine  can interfere with the natural chemistry of feeling sleepy, even if you had a cup of coffee five hours before bedtime.
  • Drinking alcohol  before bed can disturb the pattern and quality of your sleep.
  • Watching TV, texting and reading in bed  are habits that can get in the way of going to sleep.
  • Focusing on these activities can become a mental routine that interferes with how the brain transitions from being awake to sleeping. Light from these activities also weakens your body’s ability to release hormones that prepare you for sleep.

What you can do to sleep better

  • Go to sleep at the same time each night. Set aside time to prepare for sleep, and give yourself seven undisturbed hours in bed.
  • Taking time to relax, such as with a warm bath, can help your body prepare for sleep.
  • Sleeping in a dark, quiet, cool room can also help.
  • Like eating well and exercising, getting plenty of sleep can help you achieve your best for your family and career, and it can improve your well-being for years to come. Sleep health is a fundamental requirement of life. It’s not an option.
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