Posted on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019 at 8:12 pm
Getting a good night’s sleep is critical to your health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40.6 million, or about 30%, of American adults are sleep deprived, meaning they’re sleeping six hours or less per night. This is a startling statistic because numerous studies conclude that too little sleep is bad for your health.
A 2009 Japanese study published in the academic journal Sleep looked at the sleep patterns of nearly 100,000 subjects aged 40 to 79. Their finding: the ideal amount of sleep is 7 hours per night. Too little sleep and too much sleep was linked to an increase in mortality, the study found.
Here are 7 reasons why sleep is so important:
- Improves productivity and concentration
Getting the optimal amount of sleep – 7-8 hours per night – can give you more energy. A good night’s sleep is important for brain function during the day. This includes concentration, productivity, cognition, and performance. Sleep deprivation negatively affects all of these functions. If you are sleep deprived, you will have a 50% slower response time on simple tasks than someone who is drunk, according to a study by the National Sleep Foundation.
- Keeps your weight in check
Sleep deprivation is linked to weight gain. According to a study published in the journal Obesity, sleep deprivation may increase one’s weight through its effect on appetite, physical activity, and thermoregulation. A study by the Sleep Research Society found an increased risk of obesity in children and adults who are short sleepers.
- Decreases risk of heart disease and stroke
A review of studies published in the European Heart Journalfound that people who are sleep deprived are at a much greater risk of heart disease and stroke then those who sleep 7-8 hours per night.
- Boosts your mood
A healthy amount of sleep can enhance well-being and lead to happiness. On the other hand, inadequate sleep has been linked to depression. According to a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, about 90 percent of depressed people complain about the amount and quality of sleep they’re getting. Another study, conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, found that subjects who were limited to 4.5 hours of sleep reported feeling more sad, angry, and stressed. When the subjects switched to a healthier sleep pattern, they reported a drastic improvement in their mood.
- Lessens risk of diabetes
Sleep deprivation is linked to unhealthy blood sugar levels. In fact, lack of sleep can cause prediabetes in healthy adults in less than a week. Furthermore, numerous studies show a strong correlation between inadequate sleep and type 2 diabetes.
- Reduces stress
When you’re sleep deprived, your body goes into a state of stress. Bodily functions are put on high alert, leading to high blood pressure, which, in turn, increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Improves immune function
Not getting enough sleep can adversely affect your immune system, increasing your risk of catching a bad cold or the flu, for instance. A study by the American Medical Association found that those who slept fewer than 7 hours per night were nearly three times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept more than 8 hours.
Are you getting less than the optimum amount of sleep per night? Do you find yourself having trouble falling and staying asleep? If so, Dr. Clifford Brown and the dedicated team at Silent Night Therapy can help. To discuss your options and schedule a sleep test, call us today at (631) 983-2463 or reach out to us on our website.
Posted on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018 at 2:41 pm
Everyone has trouble sleeping sometimes, even sleep experts and health professionals. When we’re lying awake at night, struggling in vain to fall asleep, we might wish we had a sleep expert there with us to tell us what to do. Luckily, if you have trouble falling asleep, we have put together this list of expert tips for falling asleep.
When people notice that they’ve been lying awake for a long time without falling asleep, stress is a common reaction. Panicking will only make falling asleep harder. If you’ve been laying awake for more than 20 minutes, it’s good to get out of bed and do something calm or boring for awhile, rather than struggling against your mind. After a while, you will likely start to feel tired, and you can return to bed to try again.
2-Hour Writing Rule
If you’re having trouble sleeping because of stress, anxiety, and a racing mind, then journaling can help unload some of these issues. Writing down your thoughts before bed can help you feel like you’re in control and make it easier to fall asleep at night. However, it’s best to journal at least 2 hours before bed, rather than right before. This gives your brain time to relax and think about something else after journaling, rather than bringing everything that is bothering you to the surface right before you try to sleep.
Many people rely on sleep drugs or melatonin supplements to try to fall asleep at night, but these choices can shift your sleep schedule and leave you feeling lethargic the next day. Instead, taking three grams of glycine, an amino acid available over the counter, can give you better quality sleep without the negative side effects. As a bonus, you can take glycine any time of the night, because it doesn’t affect your sleep cycle.
*Important note: Be sure to consult your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medication.
The classic trick for falling asleep is counting sheep, but sleep experts have a more effective approach. You select a random word that helps you relax and focus. Then, you take slow, deep breaths, thinking of the word with each exhale. This meditative process helps to quiet your mind and shut out any thoughts besides that one word, allowing you to relax into sleep.
Even if you’ve had trouble falling asleep the night before, leaving you exhausted during the day, try to avoid taking a nap. Resting during the day disrupts your sleep drive, which makes you less tired once it’s time to go to sleep at night. This creates a vicious cycle that can be difficult to break out of unless you stop napping. To fight exhaustion during the day after a restless night, try exercising or spending some time outside.
If you sleep in the same bed as another person, you may not be sleeping in your ideal conditions. You may be uncomfortable at night, but afraid to move in case you disturb your partner. For a simple solution, buy two sets of sheets. You can then adjust your temperature to your liking and move around without waking your partner.
The Cognitive Shuffle
Another way to relax your mind is to play the Cognitive Shuffle. Select a random letter, then start picturing words that begin with that letter. Go slowly, picturing your words in full before moving on. The theory behind this technique is that you’re signaling to your brain that it’s time to sleep by initiating mind wandering and visualization.
Trouble Sleeping? Contact Us
In some cases, people find that sleep issues may be a symptom of a larger problem, like sleep apnea. If you are having trouble sleeping or getting quality sleep and believe that sleep apnea may be to blame, contact Dr. Brown and the sleep apnea professionals at Silent Night Therapy today at (631) 983-2463.