Mr. Baker always falls asleep with the TV on and rarely sleeps through the night. His doctor talked to him about improving his sleep, but he doesn’t understand why sleep is so important. Let’s explain:
For adults, a good night’s sleep is considered to be seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Short sleep, which is defined as less than 7 hours of sleep a night, leads to poor judgment and memory, difficulty making decisions, lack of focus and attention and an increased risk of illness including high blood pressure or hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. The increased risk of these diseases is real, which is why sleeping for a minimum of 7 hours a night is important.
Sleep allows the body to rest and slow down, which results in a number of physiological responses that include lower blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and changes in hormone levels that regulate stress, the immune system, and our appetite. All of these factors contribute to our psychological and physiological health—in other words, our mood, how we feel, and how we function. To be at our best, and reduce our risk of disease, especially heart disease, good sleep is important.
Tips to Improve Sleep
- Maintain a consistent schedule so your body knows when to be awake and when to expect sleep
- Exercise daily
- Relax before bed by reading, meditating, doing yoga, listening to relaxing music
- Promote a sleep environment by maintaining a comfortable room temperature, using room darkening curtains
- Turn off the TV and electronics before bed
- Unclutter your mind by writing down your thoughts or making to do lists
- Limit alcohol intake
- Avoid smoking or caffeine before bed because these contain stimulants which can keep you awake
- Listen to a talk on Why Do We Sleep?
- Take the Sleepiness Test to compare your sleep status with the general population
- Learn more about sleep with the Interactive Sleep Quiz
- Learn How to Sleep Better
- Read more about Tips to Improve Your Sleep
- Read more about Sleep Deprivation
- Read the original article on Sleep Duration Predicts Cardiovascular Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Prospective Studies
- Read the original article on the Correlation between Sleep Duration and Risk of Stroke
- Read the original article on Hypertension and Sleep: Overview of a Tight Relationship
- Read the original article on Addressing Sleep Disturbances: An Opportunity to Prevent Cardiometabolic Disease