Sleep and Your Health

March 14, 2016

While most of us are excited for Spring to arrive, "Springing Forward" with Daylight Saving Time can and losing an hour of sleep can really mess with our sleep schedules and bodies and make for a rough start to the week. If you're feeling like the photo below today, it's probably time to take a look at your sleeping habits and make an adjustment.

 

When you're busy, sleep is usually the first thing to go, but most people don't realize that limiting your sleep can have long term health consequences. You hear about getting your "beauty sleep," but the benefits of sleep go far beyond keeping away bags under your eyes and being in a better mood.  Not only will you feel better, but getting enough sleep will benefit your mind, heart, weight, and more!

 

According to the Division of Sleep Medicine and Harvard Medical School, "Numerous studies have found that insufficient sleep increases a person's risk of developing serious medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease."  They found that sleeping fewer than 8 hours on a regular basis increased the risk of negative health consequences. Studies have also shown that not sleeping enough can have a negative effect on your immune function.  When looking at the common cold, they noticed " people who averaged less than seven hours of sleep a night were about three times more likely to develop cold symptoms than study volunteers who got eight or more hours of sleep when exposed to the cold-causing rhinovirus."

 

Enough with the negative- what are the POSITIVE effects of getting enough sleep?  According to an article from Health.com, there are many health benefits to getting enough sleep that you may not have thought about. Getting adequate sleep can help improve your memory, curb inflammation, improve athletic performance, sharpen your attention, lower your stress (which gives you better control of your blood pressure), avoid traffic accidents, and help minimize depression symptoms. 

 

So how much sleep do you need each night?  Most adults need 7-9 hours of each night.  Many people think they can "make up" for sleep on the weekend if they get behind during the week, but it is important to stay consistent with your sleep schedule.  You can also get too much sleep.  The chart below from the National Sleep Foundation breaks down how much sleep a person should be getting based on his or her age.

 

If you're having trouble getting enough sleep or falling asleep, the National Sleep Foundation has some tips and tricks for you to try.

 

-Stick to a sleep schedule

-Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual

-Avoid naps, especially in the afternoon

-Evaluate your room- make sure it is kept between 60-67 degrees and is free from noise and light

-Sleep on comfortable and supportive mattresses and pillows

-Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, and heavy meals in the evening

-Avoid electronics before bed

-If you can't fall asleep, go in a different room and do something relaxing until you feel tired.

 

 

At A Therapeutic Effect, we want you to be the healthiest that you can be.  If you're constantly feeling tired, fatigued, or you know that you are not getting enough sleep, talk to Dr. Andrew or one of our knowledgeable Licensed Massage Therapists about what you can do to improve your sleep and your health!

 

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