THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD SLEEP – Part 2

A good night’s sleep can make such a difference in your life! For those of us with sleep difficulties, it may take some effort to ensure a good night’s sleep.  According to a study by the Institute of Medicine, 50 to 70 million adults in the United States have a sleep or wakefulness disorder.  Many of us often don’t get enough sleep: the average adult needs 7 to 8 hours each night.  Some people can get by with less, and some people require more, but 7 to 8 hours will usually let you make it through the next day without feeling like a zombie.

It can help if you can tell whether you’re sleepy or tired. While they may seem like the same thing, they aren’t.  If you’ sleepy, you’ll find yourself fighting to stay awake.  If you’re tired, you may feel fatigued, but you will still be fairly alert.  If you feel drowsy during the day, you probably didn’t get enough sleep the night before.

If your sleep problems last more than a month, you should talk to your doctor. You may be tested to see if you have a contributing condition such as arthritis, acid reflux or even depression.  Or, you may find the medications you’re taking affect your sleep.  In that case, your doctor may suggest alternative drugs that will won’t disrupt your sleep as much.

The problem with not getting enough sleep is that it is linked to the development of a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. While you might question how sleep difficulties can contribute to obesity, consider that those of us who are up at night often eat out of frustration to compensate for being awake!

Some tips to help you sleep better include:

  • Make sure your bed is comfortable and provides adequate support.
  • Use your bedroom only for sleeping, not for reading, watching television, or listening to music.
  • Do not eat large meals before bed.
  • Do not exercise before bed.
  • It may help to journal what you’re thinking before going to bed if you are plagued with racing thoughts when you lie down.
  • Limit the alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine you use as you near bedtime.
  • Try taking a warm bath, meditate, or listen to calm music before going to bed.

Getting a good night’s sleep is important and it makes a huge difference in the quality of day you’ll have. A little bit of effort can make a big difference in sleeping soundly.  Sweet dreams!

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