This week is National Sleep Awareness Week and we are encouraging patients to get the rest their bodies need. There’s a reason that we recommend at minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night. Sleep is absolutely essential to staying healthy and keeping your body functioning properly.
A study by the National Sleep Foundation in 2012 reports that 30% of working adults sleep less than six hours a night. With the hustle and bustle that has become common in today’s society, that really isn’t shocking news. What is really disturbing about the study is that it also reports that those same adults are four times more likely to suffer a stroke.
Too many people skimp on shut eye for various reasons, unknowingly putting themselves at risk for more than just a need for an extra cup of coffee the next day. “People know how important diet and exercise are in preventing strokes,” commented Megan Ruiter, lead author of the report by the National Sleep Study, “The public is less aware of the impact of insufficient amounts of sleep. Sleep is important — the body is stressed when it doesn’t get the right amount.”
Stroke occurs when blood to the brain is cut off or restricted. Chronic sleep deprivation can raise your blood pressure, heart rate, and other autonomic functions of the body. Sleep is just as important as your diet and exercise in controlling those functions.
Have trouble sleeping? Here are a few tips to help you fall asleep faster:
- Keep your bedroom as dark as possible. Turn off the electronics and remove glowing lights. Point your alarm clock away from you.
- Wear socks. You would be surprised at how much easier it is to fall asleep when you regulate your body temperature. Socks will help with this.
- Still your mind. Keep a notebook by your bed to jot down quick notes or reminders that would keep you thinking all night.