Why we need so much more sleep and how to get it

With the lack of sleep tied to serious health disorders, weight gain, depression, anxiety, and even brain damage, getting a good night’s sleep has never been more reported on and of vital importance. In addition to bolstering immunity, sleeping well can help you to burn fat, improve productivity, and preserve your brain cells.

It can be hard to start, based on all of the conflicting information, however, after years of research, here are my top tips shared with my coaching clients who’ve gotten great results putting simple ideas into practice over time.

5 Steps to Better Sleep Hygiene

1. Aim for More. Getting more sleep balances your cortisol levels while increasing your immune function. The greater your immune support, the stronger your ability to stave off infections.

2. Power Off. Make sure you “log-off” and power down your devices, televisions, and other stimulants at least one hour or more before bedtime. Use an alarm clock instead of your smartphone and keep the phone outside your bedroom.

3. Remember that quantity matters. Although there’s dispute out there, most researchers conclude that adults, no matter their age, should aim for 7–9 hours of sleep per night.

4. Sleep outranks workouts. Remember that sleep regulates your hormones, so even if you’re eating well and exercising, you can still gain weight and inches on your waistline if you aren’t sleeping enough.

5. Prepare for the day ahead. A good night’s sleep helps you participate more fully in your next day’s workout as well as helps you recover from any physical exertion.

And to learn more about why sleep is so important, particularly in setting yourself up for success (and especially if you’re young(ish) and already sleep-deprived, watch my TEDx Talk, “Waking Up to Your Wonderful Life.”

What about you, what do you do to make sure you get a full night of restful sleep? Please share your comments, lessons, ideas, and strategies in the comments section!