Maybe you're already eating a healthy diet, full of whole grains and vegetables, but you're only getting four hours of sleep each night. Maybe, you're sleeping well and eating well, but there’s no time for exercise in your busy life. There usually needs to be more than one element involved in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and there is evidence that sleep, nutrition, and exercise all influence one another.
Healthy Sleep Habits
Most people think that a combination of exercise and proper nutrition is the key to healthy lifestyle, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, healthy sleep habits are directly related to how we eat and exercise. This makes sleep a "critical factor in your health, weight and energy level" the organization reports. Although each person's sleep needs are different, and everyone of different ages requires different amounts for healthy functioning, seven to nine hours of sleep is typically recommended for most adults. And if your sleep pattern is thrown off, your nutritional and exercise habits could go by the wayside as well.
Sleep & Nutrition
Did you know that poor sleep habits can lead to poor nutrition? According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation has been linked to a number of health risks--some purely weight and nutrition related--such as obesity, diabetes, and metabolism issues. A study from the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort found that sleep-deprived individuals had an imbalance of hormones associated with appetite, which made them eat more. And the Mayo Clinic reports that lack of sleep can lead to unhealthy food cravings for calorie-rich and carb-rich foods, which can lead to weight gain.
Sleep & Exercise
We all know that exercise does the body good, but did you know that by timing exercise according to your sleep schedule you could maximize its benefits? For instance, The National Sleep Foundation reports that exercise in the morning can speed up your metabolism and give you more energy for the entire day, while exercising within three hours of bedtime could make it harder for you to get a good night's sleep. And we all know that after a poor night's sleep, having the motivation to complete a good workout is nearly impossible.
The Magic Combination
A good night's sleep can make all the difference in a balanced and healthy lifestyle. By combining healthy sleep patterns with good nutrition and regular exercise, you will not only feel good, you will also fight obesity and a number of diseases. However, when we throw one of these off kilter, say by exercising before bedtime, we have the potential to throw off the balance between the other elements that support good health.
Corinne Garcia has been a writer and editor since 1999. After owning and operating two Montana-based publications, she worked as an editor for the Lee Enterprises newspaper company. Garcia has written for "Country Living," "Parents," "Women's Health," "Fit Pregnancy," "Marie Claire" and "Northwest Travel," among other publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Colorado State University.