10 Healthy Pleasures We Should All Enjoy

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strawberries and wineBring some healthy pleasures into your everyday life that will help you to enjoy your days even more. And we’ve got the 10 best right here, conveniently ranked by Health magazine’s expert panelists. Start at the top of the list to get the most bang for your healthy buck, and keep moving on down to learn how to boost your well-being in the most decadent ways possible.

Pleasure No. 1: Getting your zzz’s: Our experts unanimously agreed: Sleep is free and has virtually zero health drawbacks, making it the one treat no one should skimp on. Pillow time gives you energy, bolsters your immune system, boosts your memory, and even helps you get (or stay) slim.

Cut slumber short, and you’ll find it harder to make decisions (no surprise to anyone who’s struggled through a workday after a too-late bedtime). Plus, you’ll increase your risk for anxiety and depression.

“Lack of sleep has also been associated with hypertension, glucose intolerance, and belly fat — all risk factors for heart disease,” says Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director of the New York University-Langone Women’s Heart Program.

Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep a night, the amount that studies show is ideal. If you’re up-and-at-’em on less, don’t sweat it: Some people are just wired that way, Goldberg says. But if you have trouble falling or staying asleep, or can’t seem to drag yourself out of bed on a regular basis, talk to your doctor about possible underlying causes, such as anxiety or sleep apnea.

Pleasure No. 2: Playing hooky: There’s a reason it’s called a mental-health day. Studies confirm that time off — whether on a trip out of Dodge or a 24-hour staycation — relieves stress, lowering your blood pressure and your risk for heart disease.

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