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HEALTHY LIVING: SLEEP, DON’T COUNT SHEEP!

Sleep Awareness Week is March 5 – 12, 2017

Ahhhh, sleep! Restful, peaceful and restorative slumber is something we all crave. Have you ever noticed how refreshed you feel after a good night’s sleep? Not surprisingly, many of us have issues that prevent us from getting the full night’s sleep that we need to feel rested. Quality sleep is necessary for the body to recover, detox and rejuvenate each night and when we don’t get a solid night’s rest, our health can suffer.

 

With the return of Daylight Save Time this month, many people will experience disrupted sleep. While it seems minor, a one hour change in the local time can rather dramatically affect folks’ sleep wake cycles for several days.

 

SLEEP HYGIENE

There are several things you can do to create a restful environment conducive to a good night’s sleep. Practicing effective sleep hygiene is part of a healthy lifestyle, much like exercising and eating a well-balanced diet. Making a few simple changes can quickly help you to feel refreshed and ready to face another day. Incorporate the following tips, as appropriate:

  • Eliminate caffeine six hours before bedtime
  • Discontinue alcohol use at least three hours prior to bedtime
  • Observe a bedtime routine that includes going to bed and rising at the same time each day
  • Avoid naps during the day
  • Prepare a quiet, cool, dark and serene sleeping environment in your bedroom
  • Avoid reading or watching TV in bed
  • Get regular exercise
  • Go to bed when you are truly tired
  • Make sure your bed and pillows are comfortable
  • Limit the number of trips to the restroom at night by managing your evening water intake

BARRIERS TO SLEEP

There are several sleep disorders and conditions that impact your quality of sleep. Some sleep disorders can be serious, but anything that prevents you from getting restful sleep most nights is a cause for concern. Here is a short list of some of the main reasons for sleep problems:

  • Sleep Apnea
  • Insomnia
  • Abnormal sleep behavior disorders (sleepwalking, nightmares, sleep talking, etc.)
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Narcolepsy
  • Shift work disorder
  • Jetlag/changing time zones/time change
  • Stress, anxiety and depression

WHEN TO SEEK HELP

If you are experiencing anything more challenging than occasional sleep challenges, you may want to make an appointment with your doctor to eliminate a more serious condition. Your physician may order a sleep study which may provide insight to help you get back to having a good night’s sleep on a regular basis.

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