Sleeping your way to better health

Get the rest you need—the importance of sleep for your health

Research continues to show the importance sleep plays in nearly all aspects of our lives. Getting adequate sleep makes you happier. It makes you healthier. Healthy sleep helps people succeed at work and in their personal relationships. Yet even though many know its importance, often people struggle to get the sleep they need; some even go so far as taking pride on how little they get.

We’d like to take this opportunity to remind you of the importance of sleep, especially as some are still adjusting from moving the clocks ahead. If you often find yourself battling daytime sleepiness, keep the following things in mind to help your body get a full night of rest:

  • Keep your normal routine and bedtime.
  • Don’t rely on stimulants like caffeine, especially in the afternoon. Let yourself get tired and go to bed.
  • Get a little of that extra sunshine and fresh air. Exercise helps you sleep.

 What’s keeping you awake?

Many things can impact sleep—like eating a big meal too closely to bedtime, drinking caffeine too late in the afternoon, not getting enough exercise or excessive stress and worry. Other—less obvious—contributors include: 

Age: People over age 65 can have difficulties falling—or staying—asleep because of natural body clock changes, health issues or medication usage. 

Illnesses: Conditions ranging from chronic pain, depression and anxiety—to lung, heart, kidney and urological diseases—can all cause sleep disturbances. Other illnesses like cancer and Alzheimer’s disease also interfere with sleep. 

Sleep disorders: Sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and insomnia are all medical conditions that require a diagnosis—and treatments—to safeguard your health and improve your life.

 Simple steps to better sleep

Just as there are many things that negatively impact sleep, there are little changes that you can incorporate to help you get better, healthier sleep. Keep these tips in mind as you get ready for bed:  

  • Turn off the screens. About an hour before bed, switch to a book or something that doesn’t require a screen (and skip reading about anything that may cause stress or be a stimulus that could keep you awake).
  • Avoid stimulants. Even a little caffeine can make a big difference. 
  • Try stress management techniques before bed. Worrying produces cortisol, a hormone that can keep you awake. Meditation, gentle breathing, and yoga are helpful stress relief techniques. Even simply thinking positive thoughts or taking a few minutes to journal can help people quiet their minds and fall asleep easier.
  • Start—and stick to—a comforting bedtime routine. You could take a bath, listen to some music, or read a book—but do something peaceful that you associate with bedtime. A comfortable temperature and a dark room can do wonders.
  • Create a peaceful sleep environment. Make your bedroom a place where you feel at peace. Tidy up to reduce clutter—something that can cause stress—and make your bed soft and inviting. A comfortable temperature and dark room can also do wonders.
  • Get moving. Daily exercise can help you sleep—and helps with so many other issues as well.

Don’t lose sleep!
Sleep services at HMH can help you get the rest—and health—you need!

Of course, there may be a larger issue that is impacting your sleep. If you or a loved has sleep-related concerns—or you don’t feel rested even after a full-night’s rest—the HMH Sleep Center provides testing, diagnosis and treatments for a variety of sleep disorders.

Call Gayla at 870-845-6941 with questions or visit our Sleep Lab page

Posted in:  Health