How to get better sleep

Health
Special_Report__How_to_get_better_sleep_0_20180508152255

Chances are, you’re not getting enough sleep. 

Adults should snooze between seven and nine hours a night, but in a 2014 study, the CDC found 30 to 37 percent of Americans reported sleeping less than that in a 24-hour period.

“There could be so many different underlying issues that could contribute to your sleep including anxiety, depression, sleep apnea, restless leg,” explained Dr. Nadia Gomes. “And, if you aren’t sleeping and it’s been going on, it’s really important that we rule those other things out.”

A primary care physician, Gomes has been treating Christus Health patients for two years. She says lack of sleep can also lead to secondary health issues.

“If you have untreated sleep apnea it can cause really elevated blood pressure and, a lot of times, if we treat the sleep apnea, patients don’t even require blood pressure medicines,” she said.

The biggest risk factor is having an accident, whether at work, at home or on the road.

The American Sleep Association reports drowsy driving is responsible for about 1,500 deadly accidents and about 40,000 non-fatal injuries per year.

And in some cases, chronic sleep loss can lead to more serious issues like heart attack, stroke and diabetes. 

So, here’s what you can do right now to help you get better sleep tonight: 

  • Make sure your sleep area is *only* about sleep, which means getting all the TV watching and email checking done *before* you get in bed.
  • If you’ve got a book or magazine around, try grabbing that instead of your smartphone, tablet or laptop when you hit the sack.
  • Try not to eat a large meal right before bed. 
  • A cold room temperature of 60 to 68 degrees is great for going to bed. It actually puts you into a deeper sleep faster.
  • Consider getting new pillows or a mattress if it’s time.
  • Try as best you can to keep to a routine, especially when it comes to infants and toddlers who need anywhere from 10 to 14 hours of sleep with naps.

Stick to bettering your sleep hygiene for a least a few weeks and studies show you’re bound to starting getting up on the right side of the bed. 
 

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