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Wake Up to the Importance of Sleep
Many people are unaware of how crucial it is to get a good night's sleep. With work or school deadlines, you might think staying up late or pulling an all-nighter is an efficient way to get everything done.
Skimping on sleep can cause concentration problems, drowsiness, and irritable moods that affect how your work is delivered the next day. People spend approximately a third of their lives sleeping. Why? Because our bodies need sleep to function during waking hours. Although rest is one of our everyday needs, more than 60 percent of people do not fulfill their sleep needs during the week. Just like nutrition and physical activity, sleep is imperative to your health. When you do not get enough of it, you sacrifice more than just a good night's sleep.
How much sleep do you need?
Sleep requirements vary from one person to the next. It all depends on your age, your lifestyle, and your health. It is important to evaluate where you fall on the sleep spectrum and other factors that may be affecting your sleep, such as stress, shift work, or age-related sleep disturbances. According to the National Institute of Health, newborns should get 16-18 hours of sleep, preschool-aged children should get 11-12 hours, elementary-aged children should get at least 10 hours, teens as well as adults 18 and over, including the elderly, should get 9-10 hours of sleep.
What are the benefits of a good night's sleep?
It's easy to think that your body and brain temporarily shut off while you sleep. However, during this time, your mind is hard at work preparing for the day ahead. Getting a sufficient amount of sleep is necessary to stay alert, boost your memory, fight off infection, be active, and replenish your body of stress, harmful exposures, and muscle injuries. Not getting enough sleep has been linked to many chronic diseases and conditions that threaten our nation's health, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. When you aren't getting those full 9 - 10 hours, you are putting yourself at risk for motor vehicle crashes and mistakes at work, which both cause a lot of injury and disability each year.
Tips for a Better Sleep
Getting enough sleep is not a luxury; it is something people need for good health. Even without fully grasping what rest does for us, going without sleep for too long will make you feel terrible and help you understand that getting a good night's sleep can make you feel ready to take on the world. Follow some of these habits that can improve your sleep health:
1.) Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at about the same times every day, including days off. Ideally, you should go to bed early enough, so you don't need an alarm to wake up.
2.) Practice a calming and relaxing bedtime ritual to help your body make the transition from being awake to falling asleep. Consider setting an alarm about 1.5 hours before bedtime to start preparing for sleep. Try not to expose your eyes to blue light, aka computer screens, phones, or TVs. Brushing your teeth, washing your face, and getting into a pre-sleep routine will help you relax!
3.) Avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. Try relaxation techniques instead if you need a quick rest. Taking a warm bath for 30 minutes to 2 hours can help promote relaxation and optimize body temperature changes that aid in sleep.
4.) Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night. Even a 10-minute walk will improve sleep, and more is better—plan on finishing exercise at least three hours before bedtime.
5.) Make sure to have a good sleep environment that is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature. Have a comfortable and supportive mattress and pillow.
6.) To condition your brain to relax when you go into the bedroom, use it only for sleep and intimacy. Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones, and work from the bedroom.
7.) Check your intake. Avoid heavy or spicy meals 3 hours before bed and limit liquids several hours before sleep to avoid getting up to go to the bathroom. Also, avoid caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, and nicotine for five or more hours before bedtime. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it can cause sleep disturbances.
Pay attention to your body's cues. If you get very sleepy earlier than usual, then, by all means, go to bed! This will allow extra time for sleep. Drowsiness is your body's way of saying that you need rest. Your body may be fighting off an infection or needing extra sleep to recover from what happened during the day. Your body also needs more sleep after experiencing high mental or physical demands.
It's essential to practice good sleep habits, but if your sleep problems continue or if they interfere with how you feel or function during the day, call (518) 831-8540 to schedule an appointment with our team at Tech Valley Sleep Center. Tech Valley Sleep Center is a full-service, state-of-the-art facility dedicated to diagnosing and treating a wide range of sleep disorders, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. You'll find that our accommodations at the office are much like a hotel, and our staff are experts in making our guests feel at home.
Tech Valley Sleep Center provides comprehensive evaluation and treatment of a wide range of sleep disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, insomnia, narcolepsy, and shift work disorder for patients four years of age and older. Our diagnostic studies include overnight sleep studies, overnight CPAP studies, daytime nap studies, and home sleep studies. They also provide therapeutic apparatus' for the management of obstructive and complex sleep apnea. Our team can also assist with medication management for sleep disorders and can perform bright light therapy and behavioral therapy to manage insomnia. No matter what, our caring staff will help you resolve your sleep problem and all you to enjoy healthier sleep!
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