Sleep Tight!

Although sleep is a necessity of life, most individuals do not get adequate amounts of snooze time. Not getting enough sleep has both short-term and long-term consequences. For example, inadequate amounts of sleep can impair your judgment; affect your mood, and can put you at an increased risk of contracting colds. The National Sleep foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults.

The relationship between sleep and certain health conditions:

  1. Getting less than the recommended amount of sleep per night can lead to impaired glucose tolerance which is a precursor to developing diabetes.
  2. Long term sleep deprivation causes an inflammatory response in the cardiovascular system which can lead to cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and stroke.
  3. Insufficient sleep leaves you vulnerable to illnesses such as the cold and flu, as a result of a weakened immune system.
  4. Hormonal imbalances as a result of sleep deprivation can lead to obesity. The proposed mechanism of action is that it lowers levels of leptin, a hormone that promotes satiety.
  5. The body goes into a state of stress when it is sleep deficient which causes production of stress hormones, and an increase in blood pressure.

Tips for getting adequate sleep:

  1. Create a dark,  quiet and relaxed sleeping space.
  2. Set a routine, and ensure that you go to bed and rise around the same time each day.
  3. Avoid large meals before bedtime.
  4. Make sure your bedroom is free of distractions such as the TV.
  5. Engage in regular physical activity, which can promote better sleep. However, do not exercise too close to bedtime.
  6. Nap smartly as this can interfere with night-time sleep. If you must nap, try to nap earlier in the day, and limit naps to 30 minutes.