The Importance of Sleep
A lot of people don’t realize the importance of sleep, and good quality sleep, until they are deprived of it. Lack of sleep increases moodiness, grumpiness and depression, it is essential for an individual’s ability to function and causes problems in decision making, concentration and just the ability to function. Poor sleep quality has been associated with a reduction in productivity, increase in weight and increase in accidental behavior.
- How Much do I need – This is a tough question and it varies for everyone but the consensus is that most individuals need between 6-10 hours with 8 hours being the average. Having said that some people can function on 6 hours high quality sleep while babies to 12 year olds often need more sleep.
- What about Quality – Some people get 8-10 hours of sleep yet they awaken tired and fatigued and unable to function at peak performance throughout the day this is because they are not getting enough deep, restorative sleep. For these patients I ask them to keep a diary that notes food, alcohol consumption, exercise and more throughout the day and prior to going to bed. In addition, patients are asked to rate their day in terms of level of stress and anxiety, the time they go to bed and the time they wake up. We often find that individuals are drinking caffeinated beverages or alcohol close to bed time and it’s a matter of educating the individual to reduce stimulating drinks and behaviors (exercise) prior to bedtime. Also patients are going to bed too late, while having to get up early and their sleep quality is interrupted by noise, lights and electronics. By evaluating sleep environment and patterns we can often easily improve sleep quality.
- Alcohol and Drugs, Stimulants Big No No – Sorry! Alcohol, drugs, caffeine, heavy meals all affect the ability to sleep and are best limited before bedtime. Also limit excessive exercise before bedtime and try to decompress from job requirements as much before bedtime as possible
- Improving Sleep – Create a sleep ritual. Designate a time to go to bed and start preparing about 30 minutes before that time. A warm bath or shower can relax you, add lavender and even drink cherry juice (high in melatonin) or Sleepy Time tea with Chamomile. Make sure your room is cool and dark and that your bed is comfortable. Switch off all electronics or at least place them on vibrate (for all of you that have to take call). Meditate before bedtime if this helps to relax you. Studies have also shown that if you mentally think of one thing to be grateful for it can improve your sleep quality.
- Environment and Sleep Disruptors: TV’s, Computers, Tablets all have no place in the bedroom so switch them off or keep them out of the bedroom. Also make sure that your room is dark, cool and quiet; particularly important for those people who work shift work such as nurses, pilots, doctors etc.
- Sleep Testing and Sleep Disorders True insomnia and sleep apnea are two sleep disorders that need to be throurogly evaluated by a medical professional and because they are so important they will actually be evaluated separately this week. Patients who complain of fatigue should also be evaluated for psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and bipolar. Most major medical centers in the US have sleep study clinics and patients can be referred for testing (polysomnography) by Nurse Practitioners, PA’s and Doctors. Locally Broward Health has a sleep study clinic that can be contacted. http://app.browardhealth.org/bhmcsleep
Sleep Apps Sleep Cycle iPhone and Android Usability: Sleep Cycle is rated number one in the United States and around the world. Easy-to-read graphs help you make sense of your sleep patterns. The alarms and snooze functions are also very user-friendly.
Favorite thing: While you sleep, Sleep Cycle rests under your pillow and works to gather data. The app then uses that information to wake you up when you’ll feel the least groggy
Pandora: Dean Evenson but also you can select restful music and program your own play list.
Bonus Vanilla, Chai, Almond Milk and Chamomile tea – Warm almond milk add tsp vanilla and chai concentrate with chamomile tea.
Later this week – Insomnia and Sleep Apnea – Signs, Symptoms, Treatment and more !
For more confidential help or if you have a topic you would like discussed – you can call me at 561-866-1211. Thanks Dolores
Synergy Health and Wellness Dolores@synergyhealthandwellness.net