Getting a great night’s sleep  doesn’t just make you feel terrific. Getting enough quality sleep can also be vital to your overall health and well-being throughout your life.
The less sleep you get, the weaker your immune system is, leaving you more susceptible to colds, flu and other infections. It’s also believed that sleep may help prevent cancer.
Plus, sleep reduces stress, which lowers your blood pressure and risk for heart attacks  and strokes. Stress hormones can also raise the level of inflammation in your body, creating risk for cancer and diabetes.
Researchers have also found that folks who sleep less are more likely to be overweight  because the lack of sleep affects hormones that regulate appetite.
And good sleep doesn’t just fortify your body, it’s great for your mind, too. Sleep makes you more alert, bolsters your memory and thinking, and may reduce your risk of depression .
You can adopt habits that encourage better sleep by starting with these simple tips.
Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, holidays and days off.
Pay attention to what you eat and drink. Don't go to bed hungry or stuffed. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine can wreak havoc with quality sleep. And even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy at first, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.
Create a bedtime ritual. Do the same things each night to tell your body it's time to wind down. This might include taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music — preferably with the lights dimmed.
Get comfortable. Create a room that's ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Use room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.
Limit daytime naps. If you choose to nap during the day, limit yourself to about 10 to 30 minutes and make it during the mid afternoon.
Include physical activity in your daily routine. Regular physical activity  can promote better sleep. But exercising too close to bedtime might energize you too much to fall asleep.
The Brooklyn Hospital Center offers a comprehensive Sleep Center service accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. For more information, call 1-800-540-4485 or visit the Sleep Center  online.ShareThis