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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New Year's Resolutions - Is It Time for Bed?

Are you getting enough sleep?  Probably not.

Adults generally need 7-9 hours of sleep every night, teenagers need 8-10 and younger children need more than that.  If you're like me, you're not getting close to that much sleep.  As it turns out, sleep is not a luxury, but a necessity to good health and daily functioning.  Sleep deprivation can lead to chronic health problems, including heart disease and diabetes.  The most surprising fact to me is that there is a direct correlation between sleep deprivation and obesity.  So, if your resolution is to improve your health, lose weight and get fit, improving your sleep is a must.

So now that you are resolved to get more sleep, how do you make it happen?  Here are a few suggestions:

1.  Set a bedtime and wake up time and stick to it.  Sleeping in on weekends is OK, but don't overdo it.  "Catching up on sleep" is no substitute for good sleep patterns.
2.  Keep your bedroom quiet, dark and cool.  White noise machines work very well to block out undesirable noise, such as snoring.
3.  Quality sleep is as important as adequate time.  Try to avoid food and drink (alcohol and cigarettes) for 2 hours before going to bed.  Also, avoid unnatural light (TV, cell phone and computer screens) for 2 hours before bed (whew - that will be tough!)
4.  Make sure you're sleeping on a decent mattress.  Maybe this is the year you invest in a good mattress, especially if you haven't replaced it in the last 10 years.  A bad mattress can exacerbate chronic pain and cause back and neck pain.
5.  If you are taking a vacation, take the opportunity to get your sleep in synch.  Follow that fixed bedtime and sleep without an alarm.  This isn't required, but it might help you get a jump start on your resolution.

Making 2017 the year you improve your health.  Get some sleep!