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Sleep: The Health Habit You Need to Create

This week we are bringing our attention to the importance of sleep. It’s one of the fundamental pillars of health that plays a vital role in maintaining overall health and well-being. Its importance extends far beyond just feeling rested – it is a cornerstone of physical, mental, and emotional vitality and I’m hoping to encourage you to make it a priority. From a physical perspective, sleep serves as a time for the body to repair and rejuvenate. During sleep stages, tissues are repaired, muscles grow, and the immune system strengthens its defenses. Adequate sleep also supports cardiovascular health by helping regulate blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease. Mental processes also heavily rely on getting good quality shut-eye. While we sleep, the brain consolidates memories, processes information, and clears out toxins that accumulate during wakefulness. Sound sleep enhances cognitive functions such as problem-solving, creativity, and decision-making. It also impacts mood regulation, reducing the risk of mood disorders like depression and anxiety. Sleep is also intricately linked to hormonal balance. Sleep deprivation disrupts hormone production, affecting appetite-regulating hormones like leptin (makes you feel full) and ghrelin (makes you feel hungry), potentially leading to weight gain and obesity. Additionally, proper sleep supports the regulation of insulin, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Despite its importance, modern lifestyles often lead to inadequate and poor-quality sleep habits. Factors such as electronic devices, irregular schedules, and high-stress levels can hinder you from feeling your best both mentally and physically. Prioritizing sufficient and restful sleep is an investment in your long-term health and should not be underestimated in our fast-paced world. Start by going to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual or taking a 20-minute power nap during the day, your brain and body will thank you! Be well, Kelsey Jones, DTR Certified Yoga Instructor

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