Have you ever felt like the sun and your alarm clock team up to fight off all chances of sleeping in? After tossing and turning throughout the night, the few minutes you manage to doze off are stripped away by beaming sunrays peering through your curtains and shrilling beeps and buzzes from the alarm. Instead of being refreshed and well-rested, you’re groggy, irritable and more tired than before.
One of the simplest ways to add an extra dose of healthy to your life is by getting an adequate amount of sleep every night. “With a good night’s rest, our bodies are able to rejuvenate and recharge,” says Tamera Godfrey, RPSGT, RST, clinical operations manager, MemorialCare Sleep Disorder Center, Long Beach Memorial. “Our bodies not only feel better, but getting an adequate amount of quality sleep is necessary for heart health, weight management, and mental and physical health.”
Falling Asleep and Staying Asleep
Even though sleeping is biologically programmed in our systems, falling asleep and staying asleep are critical problems affecting the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “more than one-quarter of the U.S. population reports occasionally not getting enough sleep, while nearly
10 percent experience chronic insomnia.” While a few mornings of grogginess, and yawns in between work meetings may seem harmless, insufficient sleep is often associated with more serious conditions, such as sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a critical sleep disorder that occurs when a person stops breathing while sleeping. Categorized into two types, obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea, these sleep disorders are often undiagnosed, stigmatized and untreated.
“More common than central sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is characterized by a person’s inability to breathe because of blockage in their airway,” says Godfrey. “Unable to breathe, a person may wake up throughout the night without realizing it.”
Known to cause weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease and even death, OSA is often stigmatized to be a condition that only overweight or obese people suffer from. “If you ever feel tired throughout the day after a night’s rest, it’s imperative that you schedule a sleep test to rule out the possibility of having OSA, because no one is immune,” says Godfrey. “Unfortunately, more than 85 percent of people diagnosed with type II Diabetes have OSA and those that are unaware of this disorder, don’t realize it because they stop breathing when they’re unconscious.”
Five Tips to Help You Prepare for a Quality Night’s Rest:
Dream Routine – Schedule Your Sleep - Our bodies operate on an internal timer called a circadian rhythm. Keeping a consistent bed-time and rise-time every day, is essential to maintaining a healthy sleep routine. Our bodies are highly responsive to heat and light, the ideal setting for quality sleep is a cool, dark room.
Plan Your Meals - Refrain from eating and drinking before bed. Eating or drinking too much may cause discomfort when trying to relax, and contribute to frequent trips to the bathroom throughout the night. Allow yourself to enjoy a nutritious meal approximately two to three hours before going to bed.
Get Active - With the steady increase of busy schedules, fitting exercise in to our daily lives can be difficult. To combat this growing time crunch, gym franchises across the nation are accessible 24-hours-a-day, to help you squeeze in your midnight run. While exercising is crucial to living a healthy life, try to schedule your exercise routine at least three hours before going to bed.
Say No to the Power of Three - Eliminating caffeine, alcohol and nicotine from your diet and daily life are key to sleeping better. Caffeine and nicotine are well-known stimulants, which prevent you from relaxing. As a depressant, alcohol has the ability to make you feel tired, however it does not help you stay asleep.
Power Down and Punch Out - An ideal environment for sleeping is a dark, quiet and cool room. Turn off all electronics and remove any unfinished assignments from work out of your bedroom.
To feel benefits of a good night’s sleep, try incorporating these tips into your everyday routine. Encourage family members to adjust to the new changes and share your experiences with each other for motivation.
If you or one of your family members still struggles with falling asleep, or feeling tired throughout the day after a night-long rest, consider scheduling a visit at the MemorialCare Sleep Disorder Center at Long Beach Memorial.