Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
There are many studies that show how important sleep is. The average adult should ultimately get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. I am going to go out on a limb and guess that most of us do not get the recommended amount of sleep on a regular basis. As I write this, I am slightly sleep deprived from busy schedules and obligations. However, there is a difference between occasionally staying up too late and having a chronic sleep disorder. One in five adults show signs of chronic sleep deprivation. The first step to finding a solution is acknowledging the problem.
While science continues to research why we need sleep, we can all agree it is necessary. Humans need to breath, eat, drink and sleep, in order to live. The best theories about why we need sleep state: sleep is time for our brain to make new connections, process and store memories. Along the same lines, we are conserving energy when we sleep and restoring our body. Circadian rhythm is the internal clock for all living things. Your circadian rhythm is what drives you to wake and rest. Sometimes, that clock is off.
Symptoms of sleep deprivation
- Memory problems (loss of less than half a night’s sleep can cause impaired memory)
- Weakened immune system
- Increased pain perception
The National Sleep Foundation recommendations for managing your sleep hygiene
- Stick to the same bedtime and wake-up time, even on the weekends
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual
- Avoid naps
- Exercise daily
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
- Use a bright light during the day to help manage your circadian rhythm
- Avoid alcohol, cigarette and heavy meals in the evening
- Wind down within the last hour before sleep
- If you cannot sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired
Benefits of good sleep
- Improved mental health, included being able to concentrate and problem solve.
- Improved immune system, to help your body fight off illness.
- Improved metabolism to help you stay in shape!
Sleep & older adults
As people age they tend to have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep. Older people may become sleepy earlier in the evening and wake earlier in the morning than younger adults.
Sleep & dementia
Two thirds of adults residing in long term care facilities suffer from sleeping problems. A cycle can evolve in which a person sleeps during the day and is awake at night, which can lead to wandering.
Natural sleep aides
Alwaysconsult a health care provider prior to using herbal supplements.
- Chamomile tea
- Valerian root
In order to have a healthy life style you have to have a good foundation. Sleep is one of the most important components to overall health. If you think you have a sleep disorder, it is important to discuss with your Health Care Provider.