The importance of sleep is underappreciated. Many people wear a lack of sleep as a badge of honor, believing that they can “catch up” when they miss it or that sleep is a waste of productive time. On the contrary—quality sleep helps to heal the body! While the amount of sleep needed varies for different people, an average of 7 to 9 hours provides the energy to meet daily activity demands.
Many symptoms can arise due to poor quality sleep, including fatigue, falls, problems with thinking; irritability, pain and weight gain. These symptoms can impact work and lifestyle and even worsen health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Yet, most people do not think of sleep as the culprit.
There are many things that can be done to improve the quality of sleep, such as taking a warm shower before bed, making sure the mattress and pillows are comfortable, raising the head of the bed around 4 to 6 inches to make breathing easier and dimming the lights. Getting physical activity during the day and avoiding caffeine before bed also helps. However, there are times when you check with your physician and you still cannot seem to get to sleep, stay asleep or feel rested. This is a good opportunity to ask for a sleep study to make sure you do not have an undiagnosed sleep disorder or to seek help from other professionals, like occupational therapists.
Remember to shoot for quality sleep so that you have a positive effect on your heart, mind, body and spirit!
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