The Importance of Sleep



By Cara Ayala, RD, CPT, CHC

In today’s technologically driven and fast-paced environment, sleep has taken the back burner. It’s not so much a priority anymore to get adequate sleep, rather the endless work emails and enticing social media apps call our attention when we should be resting our bodies. Everyone’s internal clock is different than others, but most adults need anywhere from 7-9 hours of sleep per night; however, some require 6-10 hours. According to the CDC, one-third of U.S adults report that they usually get less than the recommended amount of sleep. Many chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and depression can occur as a result from sleep loss. Further, motor vehicle accident incidences increase when sleep is deprived as well as mistakes made at work. Receiving adequate sleep is part of a healthy lifestyle and should be a priority every night. A lot of restorative processes take place during our sleep cycle, such as:

  • Fighting illness

  • Strengthening the immune system

  • Repairing damaged tissues

  • Digestion

  • Detoxification

  • Hormonal balance

  • Maintenance of cognitive health

Additionally, catching some extra z’s may help with weight loss. Our appetite is always active and does not turn off at night time. So, when we’re up late at night, we’re more likely to overconsume on calories since our appetite is being stimulated by our hormones, or maybe food just sounds good because it accompanies a TV show/movie well. Choose to spend your time sleeping instead of eating empty calories that can halt your weight loss efforts. With the stress of today’s ever increasing work and financial demands, getting to sleep can be difficult. Try these natural remedies for better sleep quality:

  • Exercise

  • Avoid blue light at night (TV, phone, computer)

  • Manage stress (yoga, meditation, reading books)

  • Increase exposure to natural light during the day

  • Adjust your diet (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes)

  • Create a “bedtime routine” (reading a book, listening to calming music, stretching)


CDC - Sleep Home Page - Sleep and Sleep Disorders

Sleep Deprivation Causes & Effects + 6 Natural Treatments - Dr. Axe


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