One Habit That Will Immediately Improve Your Health

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One Habit That Will Immediately Improve Your Health

one habit that will immediately improve your health photo

If you could do just one thing and improve your health, would you do it? Sometimes there is so much information out there that it can be overwhelming. If you are anything like me, when you get overwhelmed, you tend to just do nothing.

I have written extensively on the power of consistency and how small steps, made consistently, over time can lead to massive results. I am a believer in this methodology because I have seen it work in my life. So many times I try to do everything perfectly all at once, and end up quitting. It is far better to do one thing well, master it, and move on to the next than do go all in, only to quit a short time later.

Now, I have known people who can do the whole “all in” thing, and it works for them. But, that is a recipe for failure for me. I want to share one habit you can start today that will immediately improve your health.

Get Enough Sleep

Crazy, right? All kidding aside, this ranks up there with “drink more water.” Everyone knows they should be doing it, but how many people actually are?

According to the National Geographic, only 27% of American adults get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep daily, even though more than half say they need at least 8 hours to feel good. That means almost 3 out of 4 of you are not getting enough sleep. Research goes even further, saying 7 hours really isn’t enough, and we should aim for a minimum 8 hours of sleep.

Why Sleep Is So Important

Almost half of Americans say that their daily activities have been affected during the past seven days by insufficient sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. And since sleep is such a major factor in overall health and well-being, this is a big problem.

Lack of sleep has been linked to poor work performance, anger and depression, relationship problems, driving accidents, and even health issues like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. According to Dr. Carl Hunt, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, sleep is just as important as diet and exercise on overall health.

Helpful Tips to Get More Sleep

This isn’t new advice, obviously. But since a majority of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep, it is still worthwhile advice. Try to get 8+ hours of sleep per night. How?

  • Go to bed earlier. Earlier than you think you need to. It can take some time to wind down, so give yourself enough time to fall asleep.
  • Try a supplement like melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone and regulates our “circadian rhythm.” When our circadian rhythm is disrupted, usually through light it, can be difficult to get it back into the right cycle. Currently, scientific research states that melatonin deficiency may increase inflammation and cancer, as well as cause a weakened immune system. A very small dose is all you need…typically 0.25mg or 0.5mg. 
  • Avoid TV or other bright lights at night. Sleep in total darkness, making your bedroom as dark as possible. Also, try to get exposure to sunlight during the day, so that your body will be cued that it is time to go to bed once you enter your dark bedroom.
  • Take a hot bath before bed, and toss in some epsom salts. They are rich in magnesium, which helps relax your body, in addition to a ton of other health benefits. You can also take magnesium before bed to help you relax.
  • Keep your bedroom cool. It is easier to go to sleep in a cool room.
  • Try using lavender essential oil or diffuse it into the air to help your sleep more soundly.
  • Give up caffeine…at least after 3PM in order to sleep more soundly.
  • Wear a tracker. My Fitbit tracks my sleep so I can see the quality, how many times I woke up, and I can look for ways to improve it.

This habit comes very naturally to me. I am usually exhausted by the end of the day and I am ready for bed. My husband is a bit of a night owl though, so I know how that disparity can cause issues with sleep. Maybe you are in a season of life where 8+ hours of sleep simply isn’t possible. You may have a newborn or crazy work deadlines. Whatever it is, just know, plenty of sleep is important and try to start hitting that goal as soon as you possibly can. Your body will thank you for it.

How have you tried to get more sleep? Do you have any tricks that make it easier?

Jen

 

Resources mentioned in this post:

 
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This is for educational purposes only, and not intended as medical advice. As always, please consult a doctor before making any lifestyle or health changes. Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, at no additional cost to you, I receive an affiliate commission. I only recommend products or services I believe will be helpful to you. In addition, 50% of the profit from this site, including affiliate commissions, goes to helping those in need. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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