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When you think about the key components of a healthy lifestyle, your mind probably jumps straight to fitness and diet, right? You know – the things we do, the decisions we make and the actions we take.  In our busy efforts to stay healthy, we forget about one major pillar of health: sleep. It is the single most effective thing we can do to reset the brain and body every single day. And all we have to do is sleep. But most of us aren’t sleeping enough. The question is: Are you ?

How much sleep should we be getting? The CDC says a healthy amount is seven hours (or more) per night. But over one third of Americans, age 18-60, are sleeping less than seven hours each night. Both the National Sleep Foundation and the World Health Organization report something even more dire: sleep deprivation isn’t just a problem in the United States. It’s a worldwide issue. On average, two thirds of adults in developed countries get less than eight hours of sleep each night.

Not sleeping enough weakens the immune system According to a study in the aptly named journal, Sleep, we learn that sleep deprivation can affect the immune system in a similar way as stress. In the study, researchers measured white blood cells when individuals slept for eight hours versus staying awake for 29 hours. The study’s main author, Katrin Ackermann, PhD shared that the white blood cells “reacted immediately to the physical stress of sleep loss and directly mirrored the body’s stress response.” Sleep deprivation increases the risk of some cancers Studies are emerging that link sleep deprivation with certain cancers, specially prostrate cancer, colorectal cancer and breast cancer.

Eight Tips on how to get better sleep — Increase Bright Light Exposure During The Day. … Reduce Blue Light Exposure in the Evening. … Don’t Consume Caffeine Late in the Day. … Reduce Irregular or Long Daytime Naps. … Try to Sleep and Wake at Consistent Times. … Take a Melatonin Supplement. … Consider These Other Supplements. … Don’t Drink Alcohol


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