Sleep is one of the vital components to maintaining good health. But, when people juggle so many responsibilities each day, it can sometimes fall to the bottom of the priority list. The immediate effects of a lack of proper sleep are fatigue or drowsiness, but not getting adequate sleep has a much more long-term, damaging impact on our health.
A typical adult sleeps 6.5 to 8 hours each night. This gives our bodies enough time to recover from the day’s activities and allows our minds to recharge. But, for adults unable to meet those standards, the U.K.'s Surrey Sleep Research Centre warns that the consequences can be detrimental. Adults who sleep fewer than six hours for several nights in a row risk damaging hundreds of genes that are responsible for maintaining health and well being.
Researchers at the Sleep Research Centre found that RNA genes – components in all living cells – changed drastically after selected participants slept for only 5.7 hours each night for one week. Those changes are linked to the ability to fight disease and stress, and factors that contribute to major health problems, like obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
For those who struggle to get enough sleep each night, Principal Medical Group recommends incorporating some of the tips below to avoid the unnecessary risks of sleep deprivation:
- Stick to a schedule. Go to bed and get up around the same time every day. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule helps get the body used to sleeping the same number of hours each night, even if it’s not feeling the effects of fatigue.
- Ready your bedroom. To improve sleep quantity and quality, make your bedroom conducive to sleep. For most, this means keeping it dark, quiet and comfortable.
- Pay attention to your diet. Ingesting stimulants like caffeine before bed can disrupt a good night’s sleep. Be mindful about having that last cup of coffee or tea at night.
- Turn off your phone. Research suggests that the artificial light from various technologies suppresses sleep-inducing hormones. Avoid texting or watching TV just before bed to give your eyes and mind quality rest before sleeping.
If after considerable efforts sleep just isn’t happening, it could be a sign of the sleep disorder insomnia. PMG’s physicians are equipped with the skills and expertise to help patients tackle sleep disorders or general sleeping trouble, and can be a great resource to patients. If you’re having sleep trouble, contact us to set-up a time to share your symptoms and let us help you design a treatment plan to make sleeping easier.