Posted on August 8, 2018 by Dr. Noel R. Williams

We all know sleep is important for our health and well being so why are most of us not achieving the recommended 8 hours of nightly sleep?

Today's overscheduled work and personal lives combined with technology - news, stories, movies, tv shows all on demand and us being constantly "plugged in" and available;  makes getting a full nights sleep impossible. So much so that the World Health Organization has declared a sleep loss epidemic throughout industrialized nations. 

Routinely sleeping less than 6-7 hours a night compromises your immune system, more than doubling your risk of cancer. There are links to Alzheimer's disease, blood sugar levels increasing, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. All psychiatric conditions including depression & anxiety are worsened by lack of sleep.

Sleep enriches many of our functions including the ability to learn, memorize and make logical decisions and choices. Sleep recalibrates our emotional brain circuits allowing us to navigate social challenges with composure. Sleep also helps the body regulate the appetite. 

SLEEP HYGIENE TIPS:

1. keep sleep and wake times consistent. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time each day.

2. Have the proper sleep environment. Keep your room quiet, dark, and cool. Optimal sleeping temperature is around 68 degrees. Turn off all electronic devices with screens at least one hour prior to bedtime. 

3. Have a pre-bedtime routine. 

4. Avoid sleep prohibiting agents. Caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol can prevent you from falling or staying asleep. Avoid these wake-promoting agents 8 hours before bedtime.
 

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