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woman sleeping restfullyMake sleep a priority

Susan Mills-Gray, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Cass County, University of Missouri Extension

 

We live in a fast-paced, 24/7 world, and it shows in our sleeping habits. Sleep is your body’s natural defense against infection and a powerful weapon in managing weight, so it’s crucial to try to get 7 to 8 hours each night.

 

Adequate amounts of sleep helps your body produce a growth hormone, which helps build muscle mass and repair cells and tissues. Another hormone that increases during sleep helps fight infections. In this regard, good sleeping practices can help prevent illness and decrease recovery time when you do get sick. It’s a win-win situation.

 

Several research studies have shown that sleep loss leads to higher levels of a hormone that triggers appetite, and lowers levels of a hormone that tells your body it’s full.

 

In today’s high-tech world, sleep is sacrificed in order to have more time to get things done. Unfortunately, this lack of sleep seems to be a strong factor in the challenge of managing a healthy weight.

 

Here are some tips for better sleep:

  • Go to bed at the same time every night. This can make it easier for you to fall asleep faster because your body gets used to a routine.
  • Make your bedroom a place of relaxation that is used primarily for sleep.
  • Reading is OK, but avoid watching TV, making phone calls, texting or web surfing.
  • Also avoid heavy meals, drinking alcohol, and extreme exercise close to bedtime.

 

For more information contact your local MU Extension Center or Susan Mills-Gray directly at mills-grays@missouri.edu.

 

Sources:
WebMD
Tufts University
University of Missouri Extension
Woman’s Day June 2012

 


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Last Updated 09/17/2012