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Sleeping Affects Your Health – What you Should Know

A man yawning

In the world today, we seem to be moving faster and faster. The habits of modern life compromise the amount of sleep we get on a daily basis and over time, not getting enough sleep can have serious health ramifications.

Most of us know the importance of a good night’s sleep, but in many cases, the thought of that happening routinely sounds like a dream. Sleep is often the first thing that we sacrifice in order to squeeze in the ever-growing “To Do List” of responsibilities and get in an occasional or not so occasional Netflix binge.

We have come to believe that we can survive on less than six hours of shut-eye a night, but studies show that adults need 7-9 hours to function at our best. Cutting your sleep short by just 2 hours for a few nights in a row can have similar effects on your body as pulling an all-nighter. To put that in prospective, getting behind the wheel after 24 hours without sleep is equivalent to driving with a blood-alcohol level that deems you drunk in 50 states.

What can we do to get more Z’s in this fast-paced world? According to the Sleep Foundation, simple changes to your daily routine can have a big impact on your quality of sleep. Create an environment where you feel comfortable – temperature, sound, light and even smell can affect your relaxation. Try dimming the lights 30 minutes to 1 hour before bed as part of a relaxing bedtime routine. Fans and sound machines as well as the use of lavender are commonly used to promote optimal sleeping. Reading or taking a warm bath or shower before bed as well as daily exercise can all help prepare your body for a good night’s rest. Also, being aware of hidden sleep stealers such as alcohol, caffeine and the use of electronic before bed.

Sleep is a critical component of your overall health and it is important to make it a priority. Do your best to stick to a routine by accessing your individual needs and habits – so you can get the sleep you need.

If you or a family member are experiencing prolonged insomnia, difficulty breathing, leg cramps or other symptoms preventing you from sleep, you should consult a physician.

At OneWorld our primary care clinicians are here to help you get to the heart of the problem and develop good “sleep hygiene habits” to help you work towards a healthier future. Schedule an appointment at one of our 14 area locations today.

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