Feeling tired all the time. Walking around in a fog. Short-tempered and frustrated. Can you relate? Sleep deprivation not only affects our energy and mood, but it can lead to serious health problems.
Sleep Awareness Week is March 14-20, and our Bayless team joins The National Sleep Foundation in advocating for improved health and well-being through sleep education.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated 50 and 70 million U.S. adults were not getting enough sleep, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Researchers are just beginning to study the effects of the pandemic on sleep. Anxiety is keeping many people up at night, while others are sleeping too much. And, sadly, some COVID-19 survivors have reported experiencing insomnia and other sleep problems that they did not have before their illness.
As a society, we tend to take sleep for granted. But getting a good night’s sleep has never been more important. Sleep deprivation affects levels of the stress hormones, which can promote weight gain, elevate blood pressure, and increase risk of cardiovascular disease. Poor sleep can weaken the immune system, something no one wants while the pandemic is still ongoing.
Help your mind and body rest.
Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. If getting a good night’s sleep has been a challenge, try these sleep hygiene tips:
- Go to bed and wake at about the same time every day.
- Think of the bedroom as a sleep haven. Keep it dark and quiet with no electronics or visible clocks.
- Evaluate your pillow and mattress –the goal should be complete comfort.
- Signal your mind and body that it’s time to rest by disconnecting screens 60 minutes before bedtime.
- Relax prior to bedtime by stretching or taking a bath.
- Avoid caffeine after 3 p.m. and avoid sugary or salty foods in the evening.
- Avoid long daytime naps as they can confuse your internal clock. Aim for shorter, 30-minute power naps.
- Experiment with your thermometer to find the right sleeping temperature for your bedroom.
Keep realistic expectations.
Aim for being asleep 85% of the time you spend in bed. Waking up once a night for up to 20 minutes is completely normal. If worries, pain, breathing, or acid reflux interrupt your sleep, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.
New patients can call Bayless Integrated Healthcare at 602-777-6337 for a free, 15-minute wellness consultation. You can also click here to make an appointment online. Remember, if you are experiencing a crisis, please call 911 immediately.