Getting a Good Night's Sleep

March 8, 2013

Good sleep is crucial for waking up feeling refreshed and full of energy. Achieving restorative, healthy sleep means practicing good sleep habits. Getting regular, good quality, deep sleep reduces your risk for many health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. The amount of sleep a person needs each night varies. Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. Unfortunately, it is estimated that more than a third of U.S. adults report sleeping less than 7 hours per night.
Insufficient sleep contributes to motor vehicle crashes and occupational accidents, causing substantial injuries, disabilities, and deaths each year. If you are not sleeping well, consider taking a close look at your lifestyle and any environmental factors that may be affecting your sleep habits. Also, discuss sleep related concerns with your doctor as certain medical conditions, medications, and sleep disorders can affect the quality and duration of your sleep.
Healthy Sleep Tips:

  • Wake up at the same time each morning, even on weekends.
  • Exercise moderately to promote good sleep
  • Avoid vigorous exercise in the few hours before going to bed.
  • Avoid overeating before bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol close to bedtime.

A Healthy Sleep Environment:

  • Create a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment
  • Your bedroom temperature should be neither too hot nor too cold.
  • Remove all electronic devices from the bedroom.
  • Use your bed for sleeping and not reading or watching TV
  • Invest in a quality, comfortable mattress
  • Change worn pillows and buy comfortable sheets

If sleep problems persist despite lifestyle and environmental changes, see your doctor. He or she can order some basic laboratory tests and discuss possible underlying medical issues that may be affecting your sleep. They can review the role specific medications may play in improving your sleep and determine if referral to a sleep disorders specialist is indicated.
Cynthia Vanson, MD
Assistant Medical Director

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