While diet and exercise are well recognized for having an effect on maintaining your blood sugar levels and keeping you off of the energy “roller coaster,” did you know that the quantity and quality of your sleep do, too?  Studies have shown that a lack of sufficient sleep leads to an increase in certain hormones, such as cortisol and ghrelin, that affect the way you process insulin. This can have devastating effects on your health, including your heart, blood pressure, and immune system as well as your mental clarity and cheerfulness! Disrupting your body’s circadian rhythm, or biological clock, by staying up late at night can also lead to insulin resistance. 

So, what is “sufficient sleep?” This actually varies greatly from person to person, depending on various factors, such as age and activity levels. Newborn babies generally need about 14-17 hours of sleep each day; however, this number steadily decreases over the years. Teens generally need about 8-10 hours while adults need closer to 7-9. A person who is highly active, such as a professional athlete, may need more sleep than a person who is less active.

To be sure you are getting the restful sleep you need to maintain your best health and energy levels, try these tricks:

  1. Make sure you get a little bit of outdoors time, even if only 20 minutes, during the day to help your body with its circadian rhythm. It is especially helpful to do this before 10a.m. This may be a great time to go for a walk or jog!
  2. Eat your last meal of the day at least 2 hours before you go to bed. This will allow your body to focus on rest and detoxification during your sleep hours.
  3. Create a special power-down hour designed just for you! At the same time each night, shut off all electronics and go through a bedtime routine with a few of your favorite relaxing activities. This might include an epsom salt bath, a little time for reading, meditating, or just listening to music. This is the time to enjoy wrapping up your day!