It can sometimes feel like modern society is the enemy, health. Everywhere you look, you will find stressors, processed food, long periods of physical inactivity, and constant temptations for unhealthy instant gratification. Staying healthy can seem like a challenge, but it can be done by committing to some healthy habits. You may think that committing to healthy habits means running marathons, enrolling in cross-fit, or lifting weights. While exercise certainly is a good and healthy thing, you may be surprised how much of a difference sleep and diet can make on their own.

The Proper Amount of Sleep

Almost everyone should be getting more sleep than they do, and almost everyone knows that. Your body and brain need time to recover and replenish. For most adults, at least seven to seven-and-a-half hours a night is necessary. Eight hours is an even more ideal amount of time. If you are consistently getting less than six hours, you are risking several health issues.

For maximum effectiveness, sleep must also be restful. That means wearing a sleep tracker to learn your sleep habits could be extremely useful. You also need to wind down before going to bed. Try to avoid screens for an hour before bed, as well as food and drink.

Diet and Weight Loss

While it’s sometimes possible for children and young adults to overcome unhealthy diets with activity and exercise, it’s nearly impossible for people over 25. It’s a myth that you can “outrun a bad diet” as an adult moving into middle age. Your weight and body size are determined far more by diet than exercise. While exercise keeps your heart, lungs, and muscles healthy, the only way to truly regulate your weight is to control what goes into your body.

The Connection

Sleep is important to health. Diet is important to health. So, how are they connected? Simply put, your regulatory organs recover as you sleep as much as your muscles. Rest affects two things: metabolism and decision-making. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body won’t process and break down food properly, and it will store it as excess body fat. Poor decision-making often manifests itself as poor dietary habits, like choosing food that’s quick and tasty over food that’s nourishing.

If you want to stay healthy and maintain a good weight, start by prioritizing diet and sleep. You may be shocked at what a difference changing bad habits in this area will make!