Healthy Sleep Basics

Healthy Sleep Basics

 

Along with nutrition and exercise, sleep is one of the three pillars of a healthy lifestyle. Healthy sleep improves your health and quality of life in a variety of ways:

 

Healthy sleep is vital for your physical health
It promotes peak performance and productivity. It also helps you fight off infection, maintain a healthy weight and avoid chronic diseases. Without healthy sleep, you are more likely to have heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Healthy sleep is essential for your mental health
Healthy sleep helps you to balance your mood and emotions. Without healthy sleep, you are more likely to struggle with feelings of anxiety and depression.

Healthy sleep improves your memory and focus
It sharpens your mind so that you can think clearly. Sleep helps you excel at school and work. Without healthy sleep, you are more likely to be forgetful and make mistakes.

Healthy sleep promotes personal and public safety
It keeps you alert and helps you to react quickly. Without healthy sleep, you are more likely to have an accident while driving or at work.

Healthy sleep involves making the right choices to prioritize and protect sleep. Here are three keys to achieving and maintaining healthy sleep:

Quantity
Most adults need at least 7 hours of nightly sleep for optimal health and productivity. Some people need more sleep to feel well-rested. Try to get 7 or more hours of sleep per night. Set a regular bedtime that is early enough for you to get a full night of sleep.

Quality
Getting good sleep is important, too. Sleeping 7 hours each night isn’t enough: You also need quality sleep. Avoid common sleep disrupters in the evening. These include alcohol, caffeine and tobacco. Talk to your doctor if you are taking a medication that disturbs your sleep. 

Regularity

It also is important to sleep at the right time. Healthy sleep is part of the daily rhythm of life. Your body sleeps best at night when it is dark. It also functions best when you keep a regular routine. Try to wake up at the same time every morning, and go to bed when you feel sleepy

Quantity + Quality + Reguarity=Good Sleep Hygiene!

 

What is Good Sleep Hygiene?

 

Good Sleep Hygiene is anything that helps you to have a healthy life. The idea behind sleep hygiene is the same as dental hygiene. Dental hygiene helps you stay healthy by keeping your teeth and gums clean and strong. Sleep hygiene helps you stay healthy by keeping your mind and body rested and strong. Following these tips will help you sleep better and feel your best. Dental hygiene can even be a part of your sleep hygiene. It is easier for you to fall asleep at night if you have bedtime rituals. These are things that you do every night just before going to bed. Brushing and flossing your teeth is a good example of this kind of ritual. Both your dentist and your doctor will approve if you do this every night.

More tips to establish healthy sleep habits:

  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.

  • Set a bedtime that is early enough for you to get at least 7 hours of sleep.

  • Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy. 

  • If you don’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed. 

  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. 

  • Use your bed only for sleep and sex. 

  • Make your bedroom quiet and relaxing. Keep the room at a comfortable, cool temperature. 

  • Limit exposure to bright light in the evenings.

  • Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.

  • Don’t eat a large meal before bedtime. If you are hungry at night, eat a light, healthy snack. 

  • Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet. 

  • Avoid consuming caffeine in the late afternoon or evening. 

  • Avoid consuming alcohol before bedtime. 

  • Reduce your fluid intake before bedtime.

The quantity, quality, and regularity of your sleep can be disrupted if you have a sleep disorder. Talk to your doctor if you have an ongoing problem that prevents you from sleeping well. For more help contact an AASM accredited sleep center near you.

Make healthy sleep one of your top priorities. You must sleep well to be well!

Updated Sept. 21, 2015

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