Sleep is the Not-So-Secret Ingredient for Better Health
It is National Sleep Awareness Week, so there is no better time to remind you: never underestimate the power of catching enough z’s.
Many of us don’t get the sleep we need – and that could lead to health issues. According to the CDC, not getting enough sleep has been linked to the following:
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Poor mental health
On the other side of the spectrum, getting a good night’s sleep has been linked to these benefits:
- Stress reduction
- Improved mood
- Getting sick less often
- Staying at a healthy weight
- Thinking more clearly
These two comparative lists paint a clear picture – sleep is an important part of our health and well-being. Research suggests the amount of sleep we get can help decrease our risk for serious health problems. In fact, the American Heart Association recently added sleep to its cardiovascular health checklist. That means sleep is now considered an essential part of ideal heart health, along with other factors like physical activity and diet.
Sleep by the numbers
The amount of sleep we should be getting depends on age. Adults should sleep at least 7 hours per night. Teenagers need a little more, and newborns need a lot more. For a full breakdown of recommended hours of sleep by age, visit: How Much Sleep Do I Need? | CDC
The numbers are important, but they’re not everything. The saying ‘quality over quantity’ rings true here. If you feel tired even after getting a full night’s rest, repeatedly wake up during the night, or have symptoms of a sleep disorder, such as snoring, your quality of sleep is not good. Be sure to tell your doctor if you experience any of the above.
There are small steps you can take to sleep better for longer. Try to avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime, unplug from electronics, and make sure your bedroom is quiet and dark.
Happy Sleep Awareness Week – now let’s all treat ourselves to a nap.