”Virginia, are you getting enough sleep? Quality sleep can help prevent serious health conditions. Read this week's article to learn more on the importance of sleep and how you can improve yours.
Reading Time: 5 Minutes
- Understand the effects of sleep deprivation
- Get 5 simple tips to overcome insomnia
- Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
- The National Sleep Foundation suggests sticking to a consistent sleep schedule and daily exercise, among other tips, to help with difficulty with sleeping.
As defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sleep deprivation is a condition that occurs if you don’t get enough sleep. Not only does a shortage of sleep affect your productivity, but on less than seven hours of sleep, your body’s natural killer cells work less effectively. Walker notes that between 1950 and 2017, the US obesity rate has risen from 13% to the likes of 35%.
”"Sleep is the single most effective thing you can do to reset your brain and body.”Dr. Matthew Walker, U.C., Berkeley
As obesity in America has steadily risen, the amount of sleep individuals are accumulating per night has decreased—almost two and a half hours, to be exact. Not only is sleep deprivation being glorified as an accomplishment in today’s society, extensive research has concluded that sleep deprivation puts unnecessary stress on the human body, including weight gain. Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to an increase in heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) outlines that both young adults (ages 18–25) and adults (ages 26–64) should aim for 7–9 hours per night consistently. Sounds easy, right? With the prevalence of social media alongside TV and cell phone usage at night, however, most Americans fall short.
Five Tips for Overcoming Insomnia
Here are some tips from the NSF to help you capture the ZZZs and start sawing logs in no time.
- Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wakeup time, even on the weekends.This helps regulate your body clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress, or anxiety, which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep, or remain asleep.
- Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.
- Evaluate your room. Your bedroom should be cool—between 60 and 67 degrees. Check your room for noises or other distractions. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, earplugs, “white-noise” machines, humidifiers, fans, and other devices.
- If you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired. It is best to take work materials, computers, and televisions out of the sleeping environment. If you associate a particular activity or item with anxiety about sleeping, omit it from your bedtime routine.
If you’re still having trouble sleeping after following the above tips, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or to find a sleep professional in your area.
MWi would like to thank Ellyn Grant for posting this article on NIFS.ORG. Sleep expert Dr. Mathew Walker earned his degree in neuroscience from Nottingham University, UK, and his PhD in neurophysiology from the Medical Research Council, London, UK. He subsequently became a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, USA. Dr. Walker’s research examines the impact of sleep on human health and disease. He has received numerous funding awards from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, and is a Kavli Fellow of theNational Academy of Sciences.
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