Having a hard time getting a good, full night sleep? That’s me!
Did you know skimping on rest can have far-reaching effects on your health, whether you’re an insomniac who cannot sleep or someone who gives in to the temptation to use sleep time to catch up on work or TV. In one Yale University study of 1,100 men, those who got five to six hours of sleep a night doubled their risk for diabetes: a Harvard Medical School study found similar dangers for woman, too. But that’s not all. If you wake up feeling as thought you’ve barely slept – and if your bed partner has told you that you snore – you may have obstructive sleep apnea, a breathing problem that raises your risk for high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
Of course, not getting enough rest can also fog your thinking skills, slow your reaction time – raising your chances for traffic accident – and leave you vulnerable to anxiety and depression.
Just a night or two of refreshing sleep can lift your mood and clear your thinking. Just a few good nights begin to reverse metabolic changes that raise your odds of diabetes. And fixing sleep apnea can immediately lower blood pressure.
Sleep is like a universal healer. Getting enough will provide you with numerous benefits like more energy, a better mood, and clearer thinking. Sleep can even lower your risk for apnea-related heart problems and diabetes.
Did you know that not getting enough sleep can also kill your weight loss? When you don’t sleep enough, your cortisol levels rise. This is the stress hormone that is frequently associated with fat gain. Cortisol also activates reward centers in your brain that make you want food. So if losing weight is one of your New Year’s resolutions it is important to get enough sleep to set you up for success.
So how can you start getting the rest you need?
Sip some herbal tea after dinner. Avoid caffeinated coffee and teas, which block the brain chemical that makes you feel drowsy and fall asleep.
Do something soothing before bed. Don’t work, watch high-energy shows on TV or pay bills. Try a warm bath or a quiet hobby like knitting, reading or listening to music. Create a pre-bedtime ritual that slows you down and calms both body and mind.
Turn off the computer. Working on that video display terminal (VDT) seems to affect he sleep/wake cycle and biological rhythms. So stay away from the computer as bedtime approaches.
Listen to your body. Sleepy? Turn out the lights. Not sleepy? Get out of bed. The important lesson is to take your cues from your own body, and don’t turn your bedroom into a place of worry over sleep.
Hide the clock. Don’t let the glowing numbers – or constantly checking the time – keep you up.
Change beds. Women who sleep with snorers are three more times likely to have insomnia than those sleeping with non-snorers (there are no studies on the effect of a snoring bed partner on men).
Talk with your doctor. He may decide you need a sleep apnea evaluation. An evaluation is especially important for snorers.
Get your sinuses and stomach checked. Allergies and heartburn are common yet frequent overlooked causes of sleep problems.
Do a med review with your doctor. At least eight classes of drugs, including antidepressants and blood pressure drugs, can keep you awake at night.
Put the tips above to work for you tonight, and get some shut eye! There is no downside to getting a good night’s rest.
Having problems getting to sleep??
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