Along with diet and exercise, sleep is one of the three pillars of a healthy lifestyle. Healthy sleep promotes optimal physical and mental health. It also enables you to remain alert during the day. It is important to make sleep one of your top health priorities. You will feel and perform your best when you sleep well.
- Healthy sleep requires adequate duration, good quality, appropriate timing and regularity.
- Adults should sleep 7 or more hours per night on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
- You may be harming your health by restricting your sleep.
- Untreated sleep disorders can disrupt your sleep and have a negative impact on your health.
- Talk to your board-certifed sleep medicine physician.
- Visit www.sleepeducation.org
Healthy sleep is critical for your physical and mental health. Sleep strengthens the immune system and helps the body repair itself. Sleep also helps the body regulate hormones, sugar levels, heart rate and blood pressure. During sleep the brain ﬂushes out toxins that gather during the day. Sleep improves your mood and mental functioning. It also promotes optimal alertness and performance.
Disturbed sleep impairs these processes. It is difficult to stay healthy if you don’t sleep well. Sleeping less than 7 hours per night increases your risk of many health problems. These include diabetes, heart disease, stroke and depression. You also are less alert
and make more mistakes when you don’t sleep well. Insufficient sleep leads to a greater risk of accidents on the job and while driving on the road.
A sleep disorder can reduce your sleep duration and disrupt your sleep quality. It is important to recognize the signs of a sleep disorder. Warning signs include:
- Snoring, gasping or choking during sleep
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Restless feelings in your legs at night
- Unusual behaviors during sleep
The good news is that there is help for people who have a sleep disorder. Most sleep disorders can be treated effectively. A sleep doctor at an accredited sleep center can identify your sleep problem and develop a treatment plan for you.
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.
- Develop a relaxing bedtime routine.
- Go to bed early enough to sleep 7 or more hours per night.
- Make your bedroom quiet and relaxing. Keep the room at a comfortable, cool temperature.
- Limit exposure to bright light in the evenings.
- Stop using the computer, cell phone and other electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Avoid consuming caﬀeine in the late afternoon and evening.
- Avoid consuming alcohol before bedtime.
- Make it a priority to sleep at least 7 hours or more per night on a regular basis.
- Develop a relaxing bedtime routine to help you wind down before going to bed.
- Talk to your doctor about any ongoing sleep problems.
- Your doctor may schedule you for a sleep study if you have symptoms of a sleep disorder.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: CONTENT DEVELOPED BY THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF SLEEP MEDICINE