SLEEP, EAT, and EXERCISE

Sleep, nutrition and exercise all play critical roles in your health today and for the future. Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night to perform throughout the day. Your body also requires the nutrients from foods to stay active and function properly. Exercise is equally important because it strengthens your body and can help reduce your risk for chronic diseases. Each of these factors influence your growth and development.

Sleep

Sleep is a vital part of your physical and mental well-being. It helps your body re-energize so you can perform at your fullest potential. During sleep, your body goes through different stages that influence your performance, metabolism, learning and memorization. Sleep also has roles in your mood, safety and risk for certain diseases. The National Sleep Foundation reports that short sleep durations are linked to increased risk for heart problems, diabetes, motor vehicle accidents and psychiatric conditions, such as depression. You can reduce sleep problems with lifestyle changes such as keeping a regular sleep schedule, exercising and reducing caffeine and alcohol intake, especially at night.

Nutrition

Good nutrition means receiving enough calories and choosing foods with vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats. It also means limiting your intake of added sugars, sodium, cholesterol and unhealthy fats. Nutrients nourish your body and play roles in all bodily processes. For example, nutrients impact healthy nerves and cells, increase immunity and promote healthy bones, among many other functions. Good nutrition can also reduce your risk of high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes. You can support your vitality by eating a variety of healthy foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish and lean meats.

Exercise

Exercise enables you to build strength and maintain good health. It is important for increasing energy and metabolism, building endurance, strengthening bones, improving flexibility and controlling your weight. Exercise and physical activity can also improve your mood and relieve stress by increasing self-confidence and boosting endorphins, which makes you feel good. You can also reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes with exercise. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity aerobic activity on most days of the week to benefit your heart, lungs and circulation.

Considerations

The amount of sleep, nutrition and exercise your body requires depends on such factors as age, sex and overall health. For example, adults generally require 7 to 8 hours of sleep, whereas newborns can sleep between 16 and 18 hours a day. Nutritional needs change throughout your life; children especially require good nutrition for normal growth and development. Always consult with your doctor before making any new lifestyle changes such as dieting or beginning a new fitness program to find what will work for you.