It's also extremely important if you're trying to watch your figure. Prevention reported this month that "women who got only 4 hours of sleep a night ate 329 more calories and an astonishing 31 more grams of fat than when they slept well in a recent study at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital."
The magazine also reports that "night owls, even when they slept 7 hours, ate an average of 248 more calories than those who went to bed early, according to another new study from Northwestern University."
Over the last few years, I've read that lack of sleep affects our health, figure, libido...and we all know it affects our work or school performance the next day.
So what can we do make sure we're getting more of it? Here are few things that have worked for me:
Set a bedtimeWhat time my morning starts is non-negotiable; the office opens at the same time every day. Since I know that I need at least 7 hours of sleep to do well at my job the next day, that means I have to be headed to be at the same time pretty consistently. For me, this is usually 11 to 11:30.
I love having technology at my fingertips, but staring at a computer, smartphone or tv keeps my mind awake. So I try to unplug from my technology about 30-45 minutes before I head to bed.
Take a BathI know a lot of people use their morning shower as a way to wake up. For me a steamy shower or bubble bath helps my muscles relax, and the drop in temperature helps cool my body's core temperature, which is part of its natural process for sleep anyway.
Have a warm beverageI also have a cup of hot tea many evenings. A cup of fragrant herbal tea in a cool bedroom really helps me relax. Sorry, ladies. I'm a coffee drinker, but that's a no-no for me after about 3 p.m.
I don't just mean turning off the lamps. We cover the clock and any other LEDs that might be distracting and take away from the atmosphere. I should also mention that my husband and I have never had a tv in our bedroom. My husband also likes the white noise of having a fan on.
Create a sleepy atmosphere
Write Out Your To-Do ListI'm guilty of waking up in the middle of the night because my mind is spinning with every litte thing I have to do the next day. Take a few minutes to do a braindump by writing out tomorrow's to-do list. This will allow your mind to settle, and you don't have to be up half the night worrying about how you'll get it all done.
Calm downFind some calming activity that you can focus on a for a minutes before you go to sleep. It might be meditation or yoga or as simple as reading until your eyelids get heavy. I keep a few magazines by the bed. Usually, I can only get through a page or two before I'm ready to turn off the light.
What do you do to unwind at the end of the day? What's your top tip for beating insomnia?