sleep health

Sleep Health

 

Why is sleep important? 

Sleep well, for when you wake, you will move mountains!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults should sleep 7 or more hours each night for optimal health. Insufficient sleep (or short sleep) is defined as less than 7 hours of sleep daily. More than a third of adults report insufficient sleep.

  • Sleep, like nutrition and physical activity is a crucial determinant of health and wellbeing.

  • Fatigue and sleeplessness can reduce productivity and increase stress levels.

  • Sleep deprivation can affect important aspects of the mind and body, such as mood, energy level, ability to learn, attention span, judgement, reaction time, and efficiency.

  • Sleep plays a role in the consolidation of memory (i.e. new information).

  • Sleep provides restorative functions.

  •  Being chronically tired (fatigue or exhaustion) leads to a deficit in performance: Neurons do not fire optimally, muscles are not rested, and the body's organ systems are not synchronized.

  • Studies suggest that lack of sufficient sleep can increase the risk of disease and health issues.

  • Lack of sleep can decrease the ability to manage emotions and interferes in relationships and work life.

What Causes Poor Sleep?

Several factors can play a role in sleep quality.

Environmental: Technology, work schedule, environmental stimuli

Psychological: Anxiety, depression, PTSD, interpersonal issues, stress

Substances: Alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants

An estimated 50-70 million US adults have sleep or wakefulness disorder.

Sleep Hygiene: Tips for Improving Sleep

  • Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends.

  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.

  • Remove electronic devices, such as TV's, computers, and smart phones, from the bedroom.

  • Use your bed/bedroom only for sleep and sex-do NOT do work, eat, use electronics, etc. in bed.

  • Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.

  • Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.

  • If you have problems falling asleep once in bed, get up and do a calm activity. Then return to bed for sleep.

  • If racing thoughts are keeping you up, keep a notebook by your bed. Write out all the thoughts, lists, and to-do items that may be keeping you awake.

  • Utilize sleep apps to monitor sleep patterns and play calming soundscapes and meditations.

  • Develop a "bedtime routine" - for example, choose a "bed time" and begin your routine at least one hour before bedtime. Activities can include turning off electronics, stopping work, taking a hot bath or shower, making herbal tea, reading, listening to soothing music, journaling, doing artwork or other meditative activities (puzzles, knitting, etc). Make sure to follow your routine as much as possible, even if the "bed time" changes.

Sleep Apps

 

Relax Melodies 

Select some relaxing sounds, add a dash of nature, combine with a melody and hey presto: your sleep-inducing melody is complete. A choice of mindfulness meditations can be laid over the top of the mix to lure you soundly to sleep.

Sleep Cycle 

Sleep cycle tracks and analyzes your sleep patterns. Choose your wake up time and the app will gently stir you from your slumber during your lightest phase of sleep to ensure that you wake up feeling rested. The Statistics dashboard displays graphs and analysis of your sleep phases and the Trends dashboard details your sleep quality percentage and sleep and wake up times. It can even detect, track, and measure snoring.

Sleep Time

Sleep time uses an accurate state of the art algorithm to analyze sleep and provides comprehensive insights into your sleep patterns. The app monitors your movements over the course of the night and generates customized data of your sleep cycles in easy-to-read graphs and charts. Soundscapes- such as gentle waves and rain forest storms- that simulate the natural environment enhance you ability to drift off quickly. 

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© 2019 by The Center for Physician Wellbeing.