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Sleep and Your Health

Today’s lifestyles often require us to be running from one thing to the next in hopes of accomplishing everything we need to get done. To get us through our busy days we are often left reaching for another cup of caffeine, yet still finding ourselves feeling tired and fatigued. For some, this busy lifestyle leaves little time for sleep, especially good quality sleep. A good night’s sleep is not only essential to helping us get through our busy lives, but also for maintaining good health.

Our bodies run on a 24-hour cycle called the Circadian Rhythm. This cycle is what allows your body to go through physical, mental, and behavioral changes. Patterns of brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration, and other biological activities are linked to this cycle. The Circadian Rhythm is also what determines your sleeping patterns, which is why we typically sleep and wake during every 24-hour period and usually our sleep and wake patterns are set by the light-dark cycle.

Not getting a good night’s sleep can affect our Circadian Rhythm, which then negatively impacts our health. Have you ever gotten very little sleep at night and then drove somewhere in the morning, only to realize that you don’t remember the drive? This is just one example of how sleep loss affects your body. Sleep loss can impair alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving. All these effects can hurt your productivity at work, as well as your relationships with family and coworkers. Along with these more immediate effects, not getting enough sleep increases your risk for heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. Sleep deprivation has both short term and long-term effects, which is why it is important that your body gets the rest that it needs.

In addition to busy days and lack of time, there are other factors that may be affecting your sleep. One cause of sleep loss is Sleep Apnea, a disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts throughout the night. If you snore loudly, feel tired after a full night’s sleep, or have a headache within the first 2 hours of being awake, you may be suffering from Sleep Apnea. The positive thing about Sleep Apnea is that it is correctable.  Another common cause of sleep loss is Insomnia. This disorder can make it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get restful sleep. Unfortunately, one out of three adults suffer from insomnia.

54% of Americans suffer from symptoms of Insomnia every year

59% of Adults snore

18 million people experience Sleep Apnea

If you are one of the 70 million people in the U.S. that have a sleeping problem, the good news is that there are several steps you can take to help get a better night’s sleep. One simple step is to create a sleep pattern that involves going to bed within an hour of the same time every night, which will help to get your body in a consistent routine. Knowing what time you will be going to sleep at each night also allows you to power down and put away electronic devices at least an hour before going to bed, helping you reduce the thoughts that your brain processes while you sleep. There are several other simple steps you can take including: regular exercise, avoiding large meals before bed, avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine before bed, and of course, using a proper pillow and getting adjusted. Using a proper pillow and getting adjusted will help to alleviate headaches, neck pain, and back pain that may be keeping you awake or causing you to be restless.

It’s time to get a restful night’s sleep and feel your best! If you have any additional questions about sleep loss or are interested in seeing how we can help, contact us today!