May 20, 2015

Posted by in Family Practice, General, Sleep Disorders Center | 0 Comments

Tips To Get Your Zzzzzzs

get-your-zzzsThere is a month for everything in health care. Mainly because it’s important to raise awareness in a variety of areas that people may be struggling. One of those areas is in sleep and its importance on overall health.

May is Better Sleep Month. Better Sleep Council research has shown that Americans know they’re not getting enough sleep but don’t take actions to improve. A good night’s sleep is crucial to achieving proper diet, exercise and productivity measures.

I talked with Darren Shull, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Pella Regional Health Center and he shared some great tips for getting better sleep:

1. Only hit the snooze button once and strive for uninterrupted sleep.

Set your alarm for the latest setting you can in order to still wake up on time. You will feel more refreshed if you don’t interrupt your sleep multiple times.

2. Power down your smartphone at night.

Intense backlighting of electronics triggers stimulating chemicals in the brain that tell our bodies it’s time to be awake. This is a problem since nearly 4 out of 5 Americans don’t turn off their phones before bed, and 38% of 18- to 34-year-olds use mobile devices in bed every night.

3. Keep a worry journal to distance yourself from things that cause stress and anxiety.

Writing down all the things that are bothering you can give perspective and help you relax.

4. Replace caffeine with water after lunch.

Caffeine can have longer-lasting effects on our bodies than we realize. In addition to staying hydrated, try getting the blood flowing with a brisk walk as opposed to having coffee, tea or soda in the afternoon.

5. Turn lights down low a few hours before heading to bed – including TV and mobile screens.

Studies show that mellowing out at least one hour prior to your desired bedtime helps prepare your body for a restful night of sleep.

6. If people have concerns about their sleep they should speak with their primary care provider.

Cheating yourself of sleep can lead to negative consequences over time. Your doctor can help you address these and other potential health conditions.

I LOVE my sleep. Probably more than I should. My bed is my happy place. I can’t imagine not getting good sleep on a regular basis. I would be a nightmare. I’m sure my family would be terrified of me!

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