Science can’t say for certain how sleep rejuvenates your mind and body, but one thing is for sure – adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep each night to maintain good health.
Adequate sleep plays a crucial role in your immune system, metabolism, memory, learning ability and other vital functions. Without it, your risk goes up for diabetes, depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease and similar health conditions. Here are 10 facts about sleep that can help you get a good night’s rest.
Exercise Helps You Sleep
Exercising regularly makes falling asleep easier and helps you sleep efficiently once you do. However, don’t exercise right before bed. Going to sleep can become more difficult if you have recently boosted your heart rate and blood circulation.
Snoring Isn’t Harmful, But It Can Indicate a Problem
Snoring may be annoying for many people, but it isn’t hazardous in and of itself. For others, snoring indicates a more serious medical problem called sleep apnea, wherein those with the condition don’t get adequate oxygen while they sleep. This causes the cardiovascular system to work much harder, increasing one’s risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Sleep apnea often affects those who are overweight or have a large neck, but according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, it’s treatable with sleep devices. Consult a doctor if you think you or a loved one may suffer from sleep apnea.
You Can’t ‘Make Up’ for Lost Sleep
If you didn’t get enough sleep last night, you can’t close the deficit by taking naps or sleeping longer tonight. Sleep deprivation that becomes too extensive can result in obesity, high blood pressure, irritability, decreased productivity and even personal safety issues during the day. Drowsy driving could lead to car accidents.
Need to get more rest? Learn how with these sleeping tips.
Melatonin May Help
Although melatonin is a naturally occurring substance in your body, according to the National Sleep Foundation, some studies show consuming it may decrease the time it takes to fall asleep. As a result, it may also help you stay asleep throughout the night.
Lack of Sleep Can Cause You to Gain Weight
People who are sleep-deprived sometimes have larger appetites. That’s because their body’s leptin levels — the appetite-regulating hormone — have decreased, which leads to an increased craving for fuel.
Insomnia Increases As You Age
Insomnia (or the inability to sleep) increases as you get older, often due to natural changes in your circadian rhythm. However, there’s usually an underlying medical or psychological condition for insomnia that should be discussed with a health care professional.
Teens Require More Sleep
Teenagers who doze off in class or take afternoon naps probably aren’t lazy – they’re just not getting enough sleep. Although they may be starting to look like adults, teens need between eight and 10 hours of sleep each night.
Keep Your Bedroom Cool
Ideally, your sleeping area should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. You may also consider removing any distractions from your bedroom, such as a TV or computer. If necessary, use blackout curtains to lessen light and white-noise makers like fans or humidifiers to drown out isolated sounds outside.
Counting Sheep May Not Work
If you wake in the middle of the night, try to think about things you find relaxing. Counting sheep may actually be more distracting to your efforts. If you haven’t gone to sleep in 15 minutes, don’t just lay there and watch the clock. Leave your bedroom and do something relaxing in another part of your home. Only return to bed when you feel sleepy.
Your Teeth Can Affect Sleep
Grinding and clenching your teeth at night can affect the quality of your sleep more than you think. Your doctor can help find a treatment option to prevent this tendency, also called bruxism.
Inadequate sleep can influence your overall health in a number of ways. Getting the facts about sleep will help you make the best of your night so you’re prepared for tomorrow.
Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.
Get more information about specific health terms, topics and conditions to better manage your health on bcbst.com. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also find tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the Managing Your Health tab.