Are you one of 50-70 million US adults who have a sleep disorder? Chances are you or a loved one might be! Sleep disorders range from insomnia (the most common), snoring, and obstructive sleep apnea. Blame it on chronic stress, too much caffeine or addiction to technology but many Americans are not getting enough quality sleep! Sleep is essential to living a healthy lifestyle and lack of sleep can cause many issues down the road such as impaired memory, and even decreased immune function. Sleep Awareness Week is March 11-17 sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation and highlights the importance of sleep in our lives.
Before we move on, you might be wondering…
How much sleep do I actually need?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following hours of sleep for each age group:
- Older Adults( 65 years or older) 7-8 hours of sleep
- Adults (26-64 years) 7-9 hours of sleep
- Young Adults (18-25) 7-9 hours of sleep
- Teenager (14-17) 8-10 hours of sleep
- School Age (6-13) 9-11 hours of sleep
- Preschoolers (3-5 years) 10-13 hours of sleep
- Toddlers (1-2 years) 11-14 hours of sleep
- Infants( 4-11 months) 12-15 hours of sleep
- Newborns (0-3 months) 14-17 hours of sleep
What can happen if I don’t sleep enough?
Per the National Sleep Foundation, “Sleep is critical for the formation and consolidation of memories and for your ability to retrieve them while you’re awake. Plus, when you’re tired, it’s more difficult to learn something new or to pay attention to whatever it is you should be attending to.”
Your hunger and satiety hormones, ghrelin and leptin, can get out of whack when you don’t sleep enough and you might find that you crave more carbohydrate and fatty foods, which can lead to unintended weight gain.
Impaired immune system
Lack of sleep can cause your immune system to be impaired.This makes you more at risk for colds, flu, and any other nasty bug that is going around!
To ensure quality sleep, try establishing a nighttime routine
1. Turn off your electronics.
The blue light emitted from electronics can disrupt your body’s natural production of melatonin( the hormone that helps put us to sleep). Try reading a book instead of scrolling through Facebook or checking your email one last time.
2. Stay on a schedule.
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day ( even on the weekends). This will help set your body’s natural clock (also called the circadian rhythm).
3. Watch your caffeine.
Caffeine is a stimulant and it can take hours for the effects to wear off. So before you have that afternoon pick me up, consider an alternative beverage such as tea, decaf coffee, or half-caff coffee.
4. Try meditation.
Meditation enhances the brain waves of sleep and research has suggested that those who meditate produce more alpha, theta, and delta brain waves which boosts deeper relaxation and sleep.
5. Avoid intense exercise.
Intense and vigorous exercise should be avoided 3 hrs before bedtime. Exercise is a (good) stressor on the body and releases endorphins (the feel good hormones) and cortisol (stress hormone). At the end of the day, you want your cortisol levels to decrease, not increase, as increased cortisol can block production of melatonin. Do your intense workouts in the morning or afternoon and save nighttime workouts for something less intense like yoga.
At Remedy Health & Wellness Store, we offer some solutions for your nighttime routine:
Researchers have found that lavender essential oil can increase slow-wave sleep which allows for muscle relaxation and the brain to organize memories. Lavender essential oil can be diffused or sprinkled on a piece of tissue paper and placed under your pillow.
We offer many different types of Contour brand pillows that will help you have a great night of sleep.
Sleep is essential for our health and well being. Take care of yourself and establish a nighttime routine to help you wind down before bedtime. Certain products can help promote a great night’s sleep so come in and visit us at Remedy Health and Wellness and let us assist you with your health and wellness needs.