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Good Sleep: How to Get It and Why It's So Important

How much sleep did you get last night? Probably not enough. And you're not alone. More than one-third of U.S. adults sleep less than six hours a night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That's a real shame since so much about our health depends on sleep. And not just sleep, but good, deep, restorative sleep. Getting plenty of rest helps us manage our weight, reduces our risk for certain diseases and so much more. Here's a closer look at why good sleep is so important.


  1. Poor sleep is linked to higher body weight

  2. Good sleepers tend to eat fewer calories

  3. Good sleep can improve concentration and productivity

  4. Good sleep can maximize athletic performance

  5. Poor sleepers have a greater risk of heart disease and stroke

  6. Sleep affects glucose metabolism and type 2 diabetes risk

  7. Poor sleep is linked to depression

  8. Sleep improves immune function

  9. Poor sleep is linked to increased inflammation

  10. Sleep affects emotions and social interactions

Knowing why good sleep is important gives us motivation to make necessary changes to ensure we sleep well consistently. Now that we know why, let's talk about how to get better sleep.


  1. Develop a sleep routine. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day to set your internal sleep clock.

  2. Move it! Regular exercise improves sleep quality.

  3. Change your diet. Cut back on caffeine by mid-afternoon and eat a light dinner a few hours before bedtime.

  4. Don't smoke. The stimulant effect of nicotine and nighttime withdrawal effects can keep you up at night. Smoking also makes sleep apnea, asthma and other breathing disorders worse.

  5. Say no to a nightcap. Alcohol disrupts sleep patterns.

  6. Become a Luddite an hour before bedtime. No devices before bed. The light stimulates the brain and makes it hard to wind down.

  7. Hog the bed. Keep your kids and pets out of your bed.

  8. Keep it temperate, not tropical. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

  9. Black it out. Make your room as dark as possible.

  10. Use your bed for sleeping only. Don't work, eat or watch TV in bed. If you wake up during the night, meditate until you fall asleep again.

Try some of these sleep tips and let me know which ones work for you in the comment section below.

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