More than a quarter of adults in the U.S. feel that they don’t get enough sleep on a consistent basis. Sometimes getting a good night’s sleep is out of your control – things like a new baby or snoring partner can interfere. But if presented with the opportunity for a full night’s sleep and you lay awake, or wake several times during the night, you may be among the approximately 10 percent of Americans with insomnia.
Insomnia can impact nearly every aspect of your life. Lack of sleep has an impact on our level of alertness and ability to judge. In fact, going without sleep for 24 hours or longer has similar symptoms to intoxication. More common than this one-time sleep deprivation is the chronic build-up of lack of sleep which can produce the same effects. They include:
- Difficulty focusing
- Falling asleep at work meetings or in school
- Mood changes, like depression, paranoia or anxiety
- Decreased alertness while driving
Sleep also plays a role on your health. Lack of sleep has been linked to a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression.
Sleep is not a luxury, it is a necessity and you should treat it as such. The number of hours needed to feel rested and recharged varies on each individual’s unique needs. But it is safe to say that most adults need at least 7 hours a night.
Tips for better sleep:
- Cut off caffeine after 3 p.m. It takes a long time for your body to metabolize caffeine, and that process takes even longer as your get older.
- Keep a sleep routine. Try to go to bed and wake at the same time every day. Don’t bank your sleep time on the weekends as this can disrupt your body’s natural sleep cycle.
- Exercise. But not in the few hours before bedtime.
- Make you bedroom conducive to sleep. Use darkening shades, get a white noise machine and don’t use phones, computers or watch TV while in bed. The light emitted by these devices can interfere with your body’s natural sleep response.
- If falling asleep is an issue, try taking a melatonin supplement.
If sleep problems persist, talk to your doctor about it so they can help.
Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at UCFHealth.com, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.
- general health sleep