Sleep is as important to health as food, water or oxygen. You simply can’t live without it. But for a variety of reasons – work schedules, stress, insomnia, over consumption of caffeine, etcetera – many people don’t get enough sleep, and this can affect their quality of life and long-term health.
Studies show people are getting less and less sleep, and this chronic sleep deprivation may predispose them to a variety of health problems including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and even accelerated aging.
There are numerous ways to get sleep health benefits: relaxing in a hot bath or listening to soothing music before you go to bed; developing a regular exercise program; avoiding caffeine too late in the day; and making sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, cool and comfortable.
Beyond this, natural therapies can also help improve sleep. Herbs like chamomile, valerian and kava have long been used to support relaxation and sleepiness. The mineral magnesium can help ameliorate insomnia, especially if it is related to muscle cramps or restless legs. And certain phytonutrients, like isoflavones from soy, have been shown to reduce menopause-related sleep problems.
When planning your health regimen, don’t underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep!