Sleep is something we all take for granted. It is something we all do and, probably, give little thought to. But, sleep is important and something we should all learn to appreciate more. Sleep Exercise Diet – the Wellness Trifecta.

Why are sleep, nutrition and exercise considered to be the “golden triangle” of mental health?

Most people need around 8 hours of sleep every night. Sleeping can help to reduce anxiety and stress so, bedtime should be a welcome time of day for all of us.

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Sleeping Baby in a Moses Basket

Sleep Exercise Diet

How many of us go to bed at night and immediately fall asleep? I know that I don’t, so I make a point to avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.

If you are sleep-deprived, your body will not release ghrelin and leptin, two neurotransmitters that are important in controlling hunger. For this reason, insufficient sleep can lead to weight gain and obesity.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 – 9 hours per night of quality sleep for all adults. Too many people do not get enough sleep which can affect their overall health.

Diet, exercise and sleep are the top three healthy lifestyle elements influencing your well-being. Adopting healthy habits around a balanced eating pattern, a regular physical activity routine and quality sleep will reduce your risk of developing cardiac problems or chronic disease.

Mental Health

Of the many lifestyle factors we could improve, getting enough good quality sleep is the most important factor governing our mental health. Physical activity is good for the mind. it releases endorphins and reduces depressive symptoms.

Emotional House-keeping

Our brains need sleep to file our daily activities and experiences into the relevant memory slots. This process of emotional housekeeping is essential for our mood and emotional well-being.

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Sleeping Ogre Hamster and Pig

Sleep Exercise Diet

Attaining sleep quality is equally important to sleep quantity. Sleep economy is the way you balance sleep, diet and exercise. How well you sleep is more important than how much you sleep. The sleep economy values sleep quality over sleep quantity.

A good night’s sleep should be a central focus of your healthy lifestyle. To achieve optimal health you should start by improving sleep quality and then find some moderate exercise activities to reduce your stress levels.

Sleep Hygiene Tips

Sleep hygiene is the care and attention you expend on getting quality sleep time. There are several factors you should take into account when preparing for bed. Following a set routine allows your metabolism to adjust to the pattern. Your Circadian Rhythm needs to be in sync with your routine.

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Medieval Banquet

AVOID A LATE-NIGHT SUPPER

Allowing your body time to fully digest your last meal is an important element of your sleep hygiene.

AVOID CAFFEINE

Caffeine is a plant-based stimulant found in both tea AND coffee. The amount of caffeine found in tea depends on the variety of Camellia Sinensis (the tea plant) from which your tea leaves have been harvested.

As a rough guide, a cup of black tea contains 50% of the caffeine found in a cup of strong percolated coffee.

Too much caffeine is very detrimental to good sleep. Ideally, you should drink neither tea nor coffee in the evening. And, certainly, never just before bedtime.

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Group of Runners

Exercise outside

Exercising in the fresh air is stimulating and refreshing. Regular gentle exercise is good for your overall fitness. And being out in the sun allows your skin to produce vitamin D and synchronise your Circadian Rhythm.

Your fitness for sleep depends on the care taken with your sleep hygiene.

Sleep Exercise Diet

Diet is one of the three factors deemed essential to a healthy, happy life. The other factors are exercise and sleep.

A recent study carried out by the psychology department of the University of Otago found that sleep quality was the strongest predictor of healthy depression levels and overall well-being.

Additionally, sleep quantity was instrumental in reducing the risk of mood disorders. Physical activity is the next big predictor of depressive symptoms. The endorphins released by exercise raise your spirits and boost your energy.

Surprisingly, of the three pillars of the wellness trifecta, the diet was the weakest indicator of depressive symptoms. Only one dietary factor predicted better well-being. The consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables.

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Fell Runners

Importance of Nutrition

Food is fuel and good food is an essential part of a healthy balanced lifestyle. A poor diet, high in unsaturated fat presents an increased risk of heart disease and many other health conditions. Bad food choices can also lead to obesity and diabetes.

Furthermore, eating well has also been shown to be important to our mental health. An eating regime consisting of the right combination of fluids, carbohydrates, protein and essential minerals, eaten at the correct time can improve athletic performance and reduce fatigue.

If daytime fatigue is becoming a problem, you may be tempted to reach for the coffee pot or some energy drinks for a quick fix.

However, caffeine is likely to ruin your sleep patterns. Energy drinks are full of caffeine and will do little to aid your quest for better sleep.

The need to lose weight might make you choose to eat less. But, eating better will result in better weight loss than simply cutting calories. If you want to eat less, cut out the fast food, and your body and your purse will thank you.

Getting the minerals and vitamins your body needs will build stronger bones but getting enough exercise will improve your health more.

REFERENCES

Sleep Foundation
Real Simple
Military.com
Statista
CERN Accelerating Science

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