Don’t Snooze on the Importance of Sleep
One of the most under-rated aspects of a healthier lifestyle is good sleeping health. The National Sleep Foundation is trying to change that through the promotion of this year’s Sleep Awareness Week, March 11th through March 17th. The campaign for 2018 is “Begin with Sleep” to highlight the benefits of optimal sleep and how it affects your health, well-being, and safety.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least one-third of U.S. adults are reporting that they rarely get the recommended amount of sleep. The CDC recommends that adults get seven or more hours of sleep per night to maintain the best health and wellness. Additionally, researchers have directly linked insufficient sleep to the development and management of a number of chronic diseases, including obesity, depression, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
As a healthcare professional, it is important to share the message of how good sleeping habits contributes to better health for your patients. Sleep Awareness Week is the perfect opportunity to share information about the most common sleep-related challenges like Insomnia, Narcolepsy, Sleep Apnea, and Restless Leg Syndrome.
Because of the debilitating nature of sleep disorders over time, it is important that patients who are experiencing sleep issues are convinced to take them seriously. It may even require a referral to a provider specializing in sleep medicine if necessary. Getting a good night’s sleep doesn’t have to be a herculean task. Often times, improving sleep is simply a matter of training yourself to improve your “sleep hygiene” or in other words creating better sleep habits. Let’s review good sleep habits:
- Consistency is the key. Binge-watching your favorite Netflix show deep into the night is not the best way to improve your sleep habits. Instead, plan to go to bed at the same time every night and make it a point to wake up at the same time each morning. And yes, this includes on the weekends also.
- Create a sleep cocoon. Your sleep environment plays a huge role in improving your sleep habits. It is best to sleep in a quiet environment, with curtains that block out any exterior light sources. Also, be sure to find your optimum sleeping temperature and stick to it! For those who need to cancel out noise from the street or neighbors, etc., instead of music that will stimulate your brain, find a noise canceling sleep machine that emits natural sounds such as waves, rolling thunder, or a quiet stream.
- Disconnect. Remove the temptation of electronics from your bedroom. Put away the phone, the tablet, the laptop, and the television.
- Put down the Chicken Wings. Avoid eating meals right before bed, this includes drinking caffeine and alcohol too.
- Midday workouts lead to great sleep nights. Squeezing some exercise into your daily routine will naturally help your body feel ready for sleep once bedtime rolls around. The more sedentary you are throughout the day harms the quality of your nighttime sleeping routine.
Participating in Sleep Awareness Week is easy. Make it a point to hop on your social media account and use the hashtag #YourDayBeginsWithSleep. You can also download additional Sleep Awareness Week resources here.
Tell us how you plan to participate in Sleep Awareness Week activities in the comment section below or drop us a line on our Facebook page.