It’s that time of year where in attempting to finalise work/priorities as well as our busy social calendars we are becoming quite overloaded.
As a result our body clocks will be a bit upside down.
Sleep deficiency is a condition that occurs if you don’t get enough sleep. It occurs if you have one or more of the following:
- You don’t get enough sleep
- You sleep at the wrong time of day (being out of sync with your body’s natural clock)
- You don’t sleep well or get all the different types of sleep that your body needs
- You have a sleep disorder that prevents you from getting enough sleep or causes poor quality sleep
Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health and quality of life.
Sleep plays an important role in your physical health. Sleep is involved in the healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels and ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. Sleep deficiency also increases the risk of
You can take steps to improve your sleep habits. First, make sure that you allow yourself enough time to sleep. With enough sleep each night, you may find that you’re happier and more productive during the day.
To improve your sleep habits, it also may help to:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. For children, have a set bedtime and a bedtime routine. Don’t use the child’s bedroom for timeouts or punishment.
- Try to keep the same sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends. Limit the difference to no more than about an hour. Staying up late and sleeping in late on weekends can disrupt your body clock’s sleep-wake rhythm.
- Use the hour before bed for quiet time. Avoid strenuous exercise and bright artificial light, such as from a TV or computer screen. The blue light may signal to the brain that it’s time to be awake.
- Avoid heavy and/or large meals within a couple hours of bedtime. (Having a light snack is okay) Also, avoid alcoholic drinks before bed.
- Avoid nicotine (for example, cigarettes) and caffeine (including caffeinated soda, coffee, tea and chocolate). Nicotine and caffeine are stimulants and both substances can interfere with sleep. The effects of caffeine can last as long as 8 hours. So, a cup of coffee in the late afternoon can make it hard for you to fall asleep at night.
- Spend time outside every day (when possible) and be physically active.
- Keep your bedroom quiet, cool and dark (a dim night light is fine, if needed).
- Take a hot bath or use relaxation techniques before bed.
Napping during the day may provide a boost in alertness and performance. However, if you have trouble falling asleep at night, limit naps or take them earlier in the afternoon. Adults should nap for no more than 20 minutes.
Sleep often is the first thing that busy people squeeze out of their schedules. Making time to sleep will help you protect your health and well-being now and in to the future.
Written by Andrea Matias, MD Health Exercise Physiologist
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