Scientifically backed

Your life and your health can change dramatically when you get enough quality sleep. In fact, the benefits of optimal sleep are so far-reaching that you’ll be amazed by how much restful, restorative sleep can change your world. If you’re anything like the average American, you’re sleeping around ninety minutes less than you would if you were alive 100 years ago.1 My guess is that you’re spending around 6.8 hours asleep each night2 or even less. You are probably sleep deprived on a regular basis.

You may have heard the words “Sleep hygiene.” This is a real thing! And it isn’t just about getting enough hours. It’s also about improving everything about your sleep and the factors that can affect it, from when you fall asleep to what you eat.

So what are the benefits of a good night’s sleep? Studies show that quality sleep can make you eat more healthfully. One study showed that people on a diet that contained lots of fiber slept more deeply and had a better-quality night’s rest than those who ate less fiber.3 Balanced meals that contain a variety of ingredients have also been seen to improve sleep efficiency.4 There is other evidence to suggest that foods such as fatty fish and kiwifruit can positively affect sleep.5

Sleeping well can also lower your risk for diabetes and heart disease. In a study of post-menopausal women, good sleep quality was associated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular diseases. People who sleep between 7 and 8 hours per night have a 251% less chance of developing pre-diabetes compared to those who sleep less than five hours per night. Interestingly, the people in the 7-8 hour range also have 79% less chance of developing the disease than those who sleep more than nine hours per night.6 As I’ve often said, too much of a good thing is just too much!

Another benefit of getting enough sleep is that it can reduce stress and improve your mood. Have you ever noticed that when you don’t get enough rest, you’re grouchy, anxious, angry or just react more strongly to negative situations? This is because sleep deprivation directly affects a part of your brain called the amygdala, which is responsible for emotions.7 It also causes you to go into fight-or-flight mode more easily.8 Having a healthy sleep schedule, on the other hand, can help temper emotional distress, as well as benefit you physically.9

One of the reasons for this is that when you’re in control of your emotions, you’re more likely to assess a particular situation and respond appropriately. Even a nap can put your brain back in balance if your body is allowed to go into a REM sleep state.10 A good rest can also boost your mood.11 A three-week study on teenagers showed that teens felt more angry and irritable when they didn’t sleep well.12 Couples experienced more conflict when sleep deprived in a laboratory setting.13

Did you also know that restful, quality sleep can improve your memory and help you think more clearly? Studies show that sleep plays a very important role in making short-term memories into long-term ones, as well as improving your ability to accurately recall events.14,15

Hoping to get a promotion soon? A sound night’s sleep could help you get it! Your competition’s trouble sleeping could lower their work performance.16

So what are my top tips for a restorative night’s rest? Get comfy and read on!

3 Simple Steps to Optimal Sleep - Infographic - Amy Myers MD

1. For Optimal Sleep, Eat These!

2. For Optimal Sleep, Skip These!

While drinking a relaxing cup of tea can calm you down and set up you for a wonderful night’s rest, other things you eat or drink can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.

3. Get Tired Naturally

Now that we’ve got food and drinks out of the way, let’s talk about other things that will help you enjoy all the benefits of great sleep.

Follow any —or, better yet, all—of these steps and I think you’ll find you get the best sleep you’ve had in years!

Article Sources

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  3. http://jcsm.aasm.org/viewabstract.aspx?pid=30412.
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18681982.
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5015038/.
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5594540/.
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17956744.
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5594540/.
  9. https://www.sonima.com/meditation/sleep-emotions/.
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  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24889207.
  13. https://thoughtcatalog.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/57743-gordon26chen2014spps.pdf.
  14. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3768102/.
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  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4610176/.
  17. https://www.sleep.org/articles/what-is-tryptophan/.
  18. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-gaba-3024566.
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  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5409706/.
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  33. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/26671781_Early_to_bed_early_to_rise_Sleep_habits_and_academic_performance_in_college_students.
  34. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/go-to-bed-early_n_7157026.
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