Getting enough sleep is incredibly important for your health and wellness. If you are interested in weight loss, more researching is pointing to quality sleep as a contributing factor. But how do you know if you are within a healthy range? Use our free printable sleep tracker to monitor your sleep habits to improve your health and wellness.
Why Track Your Sleep?
Getting enough sleep is incredibly important for health, wellness, and weight loss. Americans now get less sleep (6.8 hours a night average, about 40% less than needed) than ever in history. Our fast-paced society, TV, smart phones, and iPads make it easy for us to stay up too late and not get the required rest.
Lack of sleep will also affect your mood, productivity, and let’s face it, life just isn’t as fun or feel as good when you are sleep-deprived. As much as we all joke about our necessary coffee, not sleeping enough hours is a serious matter.
For those of us who want to lose weight, sleep is especially important because recent studies have shown getting enough sleep supports a healthy metabolism, hunger signals, and hormones.
According to Web M.D., a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when people who are starved of sleep have increased snacking at night. They were also more likely to choose high-carb snacks.
Another study done at the University of Chicago revealed that participants who were sleep-deprived chose snacks with twice as much fat as those who slept at least 8 hours.
How to Improve Your Sleep
Here are some guidelines for improving your sleep.
- Track it! Just like water intake, one of the best ways to improve your sleep is to keep track of how much you are getting currently. Use our free printable tracker (below) or one of the helpful apps that are available like Sleep Cycle or Pillow.
- Power down earlier. Shut off the TV, iphone, or ipad at least one hour before bed and spend time reading, chatting with family, or resting. (This is a tough one, I know, but so worth it!)
- Try a warm shower or bath. This resets the body temperature and prepares you for sleep.
- Keep the bedroom for sleep. There’s a saying, “bedrooms are for sleep and sex.” Don’t have a TV in your bedroom, and remove piles of laundry or paperwork that provide distraction and stress.
- Make a gradual shift. Rather than expecting to improve your sleep by hours, try going to bed just 15 minutes earlier for a week, then 15 more minutes earlier the following week. You’ll barely notice the gradual shift but over the course of a month, you’ll be getting an extra hour of sleep per night.
If sleep is a real issue for you, be sure to talk with your doctor to rule out depression, sleep apnea, and other serious health conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions about Improving Your Sleep
Is tracking sleep useful?
If you are struggling to get a good night’s rest, tracking your sleep can be useful. While it’s not a fool-proof method to know how much sleep you are getting, keeping track will make you more aware and help you build in healthier habits. What is measured can be improved.
Do sleep-tracking devices work?
According to John Hopkins University, there are benefits to tracking your sleep with a sleep monitor such as a FitBit or Apple Watch. While these devices are not completely accurate, they do help you see patterns to your sleep and ways you can improve.
How can I get more deep sleep?
Deep sleep is important because it’s during this time that your body releases growth hormone and cell regeneration occurs. Deep sleep is when your body recovers and restores itself so it’s critical to health and wellness.
Get more deep sleep each night by turning off electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime, making sure your room is the right temperature, going to be at about the same time each night and getting up at a similar time each morning, and following a bedtime ritual.
Free Printable Sleep Trackers – PDF Printable
Use this free PDF printable sleep tracker to monitor how much sleep you are getting each night for health, wellness, and weight loss.
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