How Well Are You Sleeping?
Did you know that quality, restful sleep is just as important as diet and exercise? And a lack of sleep can be linked to many health problems in patients. If you’re not sleeping well, here are some things you can try that may help you get back to a good night’s sleep.
Everyone knows that sleep is important, and that a lack of sleep can affect your mood, brain function, fatigue and even your immune system.
The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) reports that a lack of sleep has become a health epidemic. Did you know that 50-70 million adults have some form of sleep disorder; either wakefulness or inability to sleep. This is an astounding number of adults, this does not account for children who do not sleep well.
Each day in my office I experience at least one patient who tells me that they sleep poorly. Sometimes this poor sleep can be due to the pain they are experiencing, but nine times out of ten it’s not. Their poor sleep has been a problem for years, and they cannot find a solution.
Did you know that quality, restful sleep is just as important as diet and exercise? And a lack of sleep can be linked to many health problems in patients. A lack of sleep can affect weight gain, Type II Diabetes, increase in stress and depression, and cognitive dysfunction. And more concerning a recent study from URMC’s Center for Translational Neuromedicine found a link between a lack of sleep and Alzheimer’s.
There are many things that you can do to get back to a good night’s sleep. So what do I recommend to my patients?
- The first thing is to set a bed time for yourself. Yes, even adults need a bedtime. By designating a time to go to bed this allows your brain and body the time it needs to heal. If you set your bed time as 10:00pm then, I recommend that you be in bed by 9:30pm. No television on, no looking at your phone or Ipad, and no lights on. By discontinuing the use of these devices early before bed, you’re allowing your body to prepare for rest. Sleeping with a light on confuses your biological clock, and decreases your body melatonin. So no night lights or hall lights should be on, and shining into your room or your child’s room.
- The second thing is to ensure that your pillow and mattress are providing good support. Most people are surprised to know that they should change their pillow at least 1x a year. Pillows loose that support quickly, and hair and body oils will soak into the pillow through use causing your pillow to become a breeding ground for odor causing bacteria and allergy triggering dust mites.
- Just like your pillow has an expiration date, so does your mattress. Mattresses only last about 7 to 10 years. Most mattress should be replaced by the 8-year mark due to lack of support, deformation of the mattress itself, and again bacteria which has set into the mattress from years of use. A supportive mattress makes all the difference in how well you sleep. I am asked many times a week for mattress recommendations. Comfort is an individual preference. My recommendation is that the mattress should be comfortable, not too firm or too soft. It should have an excellent return or exchange policy in the first 30 days, in case you get it home, and actually sleep on it for the night to realize it is not as comfy as it was when you laid on it for 30mins in the store! Be sure to use the correct sleep foundation for the mattress, weather that be a box spring or the newer slatted mattress foundations. When you purchase a new mattress, I recommend you purchase the box spring or foundation that is sold with it, using an old box spring will cause the new mattress to need to be replaced sooner than its expected life span.
There are also many natural supplements that can aid in sleep. If you are interested in knowing more about these products I recommend, please call our office today to talk to Dr. Vann.
And we hope you have a restful night’s sleep tonight!