30 Days to Better Sleep
Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. There it is again. The dreaded sound of your alarm clock. Every morning, it disrupts your slumber—that is, on the days you aren’t awakened by a crying baby, construction noise or roaring engines. Regardless of what brings us out of Dreamland, many of us aren’t getting the quantity or the quality of sleep we need. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends seven to nine hours of sleep nightly for adults, but a 2011 poll found that about two-thirds of us say our sleep needs are not being met during the week. This is a problem, says NSF Chairman Russell Rosenberg, Ph.D. “Sleep is restorative—physically and mentally. It’s vital to our survival,” he says. “It’s as vital as water, air and food. It’s something you can’t cheat without consequences.”
Why Sleep Matters
People who are chronically sleep-deprived may see an impact on their metabolism and hormones. In fact, poor sleep habits have been connected with slowed glucose processing and weight gain. While not a guarantee of disease, Rosenberg adds, “[lack of sleep] does put you at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.” It also increases your risk for accidents and makes it hard to concentrate on work and other tasks. “Several nights of sleep deprivation is comparable to a blood alcohol level of 0.08,” notes Tracey Marks, M.D., a psychiatrist, psychotherapist and author of Master Your Sleep: Proven Methods Simplifi ed. “That’s how impairing it can be to your judgment and refl exes.” If you’re tired of feeling tired, our 30-day plan is just what the doctor ordered. Take the time to examine your habits, reset your internal clock and get the sleep you need.
Could It Be Sleep Apnea?
If you have healthy lifestyle habits and are getting plenty of sleep but still wake up feeling tired, there might be something else at work. “Feeling tired and sleep deprived during the day isn’t normal,” says Kristina St. Peter-Weaver, registered sleep technologist and Parrish Sleep Disorders Center supervisor. “If you feel chronically tired, you may have sleep apnea.” Sleep apnea is a disorder that is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. When you take shallow breaths or briefly stop breathing during sleep, it can take you out of deep sleep and into a lighter sleep. One sign of sleep apnea is snoring. “Deep sleep is restorative sleep,” St. Peter-Weaver says. So, if you’re missing out on this quality sleep, it’s no wonder you might be tired during the day. Left untreated, the National Institutes of Health reports, sleep apnea can lead to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity and diabetes. If you think you might have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, talk to your doctor.
Get Help at the Sleep Disorders Center. Go to parrishmed.com/sleep to learn more about the Parrish Medical Center Sleep Disorders Center. The center does sleep studies seven nights a week for both pediatric and adult patients.
Article By Stephanie R. Conner