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National Sleep Awareness Week

It’s National Sleep Awareness Week and there is no better time to address and improve any sleep issues you may be having!  Some of us are not even aware our decisions are affecting our sleep, but even the color of paint on the wall in the bedroom can affect how a person sleeps.  Is sleep really that important?  Simple answer, yes!  Your body needs the time you sleep to regenerate, rejuvenate and to heal.  This is the time when your brain can bring closure to one day and prepare for the next.  Still not convinced?  Here are some reasons to improve your sleep:

  • Reduction in pain – Many studies have looked at the relationship between pain and sleep. It is proven that if you sleep better, you actually hurt less.  Now, this is due to your ability to deal with the pain.  Chronic pain is also lessened with more sleep.
  • Better health – You have experienced some period in your life when you were so busy, you sacrificed sleep for the things that need doing. College students and new parents can relate, but there are other health problems besides a cold that can occur when your sleep is compromised.  Lack of sleep has been related to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
  • Better weight control – Think about it. When you are tired, where is the last place you want to go?  That’s right, the gym.  If you get proper sleep, you have the energy (and hopefully motivation) to get your workout in and to concentrate on better eating habits.
  • Better cognitive performance – You know how it feels to wake up after a long night with interrupted sleep? Better sleep means a sharper mind and better productivity.
  • Better mood – Anyone who has woken with lack of sleep has felt that from that moment, the day was going to be very long and challenging. This can be very frustrating, but when you sleep well, your patience is more intact and things don’t seem so impossible.

Since you now have a better understanding about why sleep should be a priority, here are some ways to help improve it. In honor of National Sleep Awareness Week, you should try them tonight:

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine within three hours of bed time, you will sleep without as many interruptions and your brain will get the rest it needs to help you through the next day.
  • Make a bedtime ritual. Go to bed at the same time every night, while avoiding screen time within an hour of sleeping.  The blue light emitted from the TV, phone or computer interrupts your circadian rhythms, which direct your sleep patterns.
  • Exercise daily, but do not do intense exercise too close to bed time. Your adrenaline will be going for a while after your routine is done, so try not to let it cut into your quiet time.
  • Lighting is especially important in letting your body know it is time to settle down. Dim the lights in the last hour before sleep and you will find you have less trouble falling asleep.

Try using some of these tips and see if your sleep improves! Pay attention to how you feel when you sleep better and if you still aren’t sleeping better, contact your doctor.  Please contact us if you have any additional questions! Enjoy National Sleep Awareness Week!

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