Make Sleep a Priority for Better Health

Sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Like eating the right foods and exercise, restful sleep is necessary to maintain a healthy mind and body. If our body is lacking any of these, our body and mind will suffer.

When we don’t get enough restful sleep some of the consequences to our wellbeing are:

  • weight gain
  • higher risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes
  • trouble concentrating/poor memory
  • higher risk of accidents/slower reflexes
  • poor work performance
  • bad mood/easily irritated
  • more likely to get sick.

Some of our sleep challenges are habit related. For example, if you go to bed at irregular times, it’s hard for your body to develop a routine. If you spend a lot of time on the computer or phone right before bed, your brain struggles to shut down. If you take naps — especially later in the day — you may have difficulty falling asleep at your normal time. Stress can also keep your brain wired and prevent you from sleeping naturally. Here are some healthy sleep habits to help you get more restful sleep:

  • Go to bed at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning.
  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and a relaxing environment, which is neither too hot nor too cold.
  • Make sure your bed is comfortable and use it only for sleeping and not for other activities, such as reading, watching TV, or listening to music. Remove all TV’s, computers, and other “gadgets” from the bedroom.
  • Avoid large meals before bedtime.
  • Avoid napping during the day and sleeping outside of the bedroom.

If you find you are still struggling with getting restful sleep, you may have a sleep disorder. The most common sleep-related medical problem is low oxygen. You might have sleep apnea or an oxygen disorder that interrupts your REM sleep, which is the most important for memory, learning and mood. If you’re not getting enough REM sleep, you’re not going to feel rested. Some signs and symptoms of Sleep Apnea can include; morning headaches, changes in mood, irritability, lack of coordination, memory changes, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation,  fatigue or feeling excessively sleepy during the day.

Repetitive nights of poor sleep are not healthy. Our Center for Sleep Disorders is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and we can help you identify the cause of your sleeplessness, develop new habits and retrain your body.

Talk to your primary care physician about a referral to NOCHS’ Center for Sleep Disorders if you’re ready to make a change.

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