Fast facts about getting enough ‘shut-eye’
How much of a problem is it?:
According to surveys, about 75% of us have trouble sleeping on at least a few nights of the week.
How much do we need?:
On average, adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night; school-aged children need 10 to 11 and most teens need 8 ½ to 9 ¼ hours of sleep per night.
Consequences of Insufficient Sleep:
Interferes with memory, learning, attention, and mood.
Triggers the release of adrenaline, cortisol, and other stress hormones, leading to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and weight gain.
Alters blood glucose and insulin metabolism, increasing the risk of developing diabetes.
Changes the ratios of the hunger hormones which regulates appetite, leptin and ghrelin, leading to overeating carbohydrate and high-calorie foods
Interferes with the release of the growth hormone affecting muscle mass development, tissue repair, puberty, and fertility.
Reduces the immune response to infection
Link between sleep and weight management:
A large majority of studies have found that sleep restriction leads to eating more calories
A recent study from the Mayo Clinic showed that healthy young adults whose sleep was shortened by about one-third ate more than 500 extra calories per day compared with controls, while their leptin levels increased and ghrelin levels slightly decreased.
Factors That Disrupt Sleep:
Caffeine: It may take six to eight hours for the effects of caffeine to wear off completely so will interfere with sleep if you are having afternoon caffeine hits!
Nicotine: This is a stimulant that causes lighter-than-normal sleep patterns.
Alcohol: It often has an initial sedating effect, but it can prevent rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and the deep stages of non-REM sleep during the night.
Night time exercise: Daytime exercise is associated with improved night time sleep, but evening exercise can delay the release of melatonin that helps someone fall asleep at night. The National Sleep Foundation recommends leaving three hours between exercise and sleep, if possible.
Large meals: eating large meals, late at night can make it tough to fall asleep because they can cause indigestion.
Environment: Noise, lighting, and uncomfortable temperatures also can interfere with a good night’s sleep.
Sleep Hygiene Checklist:
Go to bed the same time each night and wake up the same time every morning—even on the weekends.
Exercise earlier in the day if you can
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine in the afternoon/evening.
Limit eating and drinking to small quantities before bedtime.
Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool.
Avoid watching TV or sitting in front of a computer for at least one hour before bedtime.
Take a nap in the day if needed, but not for more than 20 minutes
Don’t lie awake in bed for more than 20 minutes. If you can’t sleep, get up and do something relaxing such as reading a book until you feel sleepy again.
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