How sleep can make or break your health and wellness routine



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In the past few weeks, we've profiled stories of real people who have lost weight. Shedding excess pounds hasn't been the only benefit to their bodies, however. They have adopted healthier habits that have produced a positive effect in their overall wellness. It's not an easy shift to make — if it were, we wouldn't be trying to prove to you that it's possible by featuring real people and not airbrushed fitness models. Getting started, therefore, is the first major hurdle you must surpass.

You have likely heard that great, strong abs begin in the kitchen. Well, the road to health and wellness — staying active and making smarter food choices — begins in the bedroom.

Whether you suffer from insomnia or simply can't get a handle on all the things you have to do in a 24-hour period, getting a good night's sleep can be quite challenging. But sleep is the essential first step on that road to a healthier you. You need fuel to work out, and that fuel doesn't just come from healthy eating. As we've told you before, cutting back on sleep can mean obesity, high blood pressure and mood swings, as well as poor performance at work, home and behind the wheel.

If you have insomnia, it may help to understand more about it so you can sleep easy again — and definitely see a doctor. And check out these excellent tips on how to get to sleep. The first of those tips is building a routine. Consider making the following things part of that routine:


1. Shut down the computer and put away the tablet and phone.


2. Have a cup of chamomile tea.


3. Turn off the television, and turn on the radio instead. Find your local classical music station and enjoy the lovely background noise. If Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries proves to be a little too much during the wee hours, consider getting a white noise machine.


4. Try to get yourself to bed at around the same hour every night. Aim for between 10 and 11 p.m.


5. Train yourself to wake up at the same time every morning.


6. Don't hit the snooze button. Ever. Trust us. You'll feel groggier the rest of the day if you try to squeeze in an extra 15 minutes because, rather than feeling like you got extra sleep, which you technically did, your body will feel like its sleep cycle was clipped short. And who wants to race to catch a train or bus first thing in the morning? Get up when you're supposed to and stay up. Use the extra time to walk to work and burn stress before it even gets you.