When asked if you are getting enough sleep do you know how to answer? Ask yourself a few things first.
How are you sleeping? Do you find yourself waking up throughout the night, or lucky to sleep for a few hours straight? Did you know that an estimated 50-70 million U.S. adults have sleep or wakefulness disorder. On top of that, nearly 30% of adults reported an average of ≤6 hours of sleep per day. Regardless of cause, lack of quality sleep has a profound affect on your health and vitality.
Health risk associated with lack of sleep
- Diabetes: Research has found that insufficient sleep is linked to an increased risk for the development of Type 2 diabetes. Specifically, sleep duration appears to affect blood sugar levels. Recent research suggests that optimizing your sleep time and quality may be important means of improving your blood sugar control, especially those with Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular Disease: People with sleep apnea have been found to be at increased risk for a number of cardiovascular diseases. Hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease and irregular heartbeats have been found to be more common among those with sleep issues than their peers who have normal sleep patterns. Plus, sleep apnea and hardening of the arteries appear to share some common physiological characteristics, which suggest that sleep apnea may be an important predictor of cardiovascular disease.
- Obesity: Laboratory research has found that short sleep duration results in metabolic changes that may be linked to obesity. Studies have also revealed an association between short sleep duration and excess body weight. This association has been reported in all age groups—but has been particularly pronounced in children
- Depression: The relationship between sleep and depression is complex. While a lack of sleep is an important symptom of depression, recent research has indicated that depressive symptoms may decrease once sleep apnea has been effectively treated and sufficient sleep restored.
What you can do to gain your sleep and health back
It is well worth your time and effort to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep. You will be amazed at how your health can improve. Going to bed when we are actually physically or mentally tired, avoiding stimulants (and alcohol) if we have regular sleeping issues, and exercising regularly are good daily habits for us all. Improving quality of sleep is one decision you don’t have to sleep on to make.
Here’s some tips from the National Sleep Foundation:
-Keep your bedroom comfortable, cool, dark and quiet.
-Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine before bed.
-Avoid nicotine before bed.
-Do not have the television or other distracting devices on while you are in bed.