Sleep, Glorious Sleep: Resolving to Get the Rest You Need This Year

December 30, 2019

Article by: Cathy Blevins MS, RRT, RPFT, AE-C is the Director of Cardiopulmonary Services and Sleep Lab at Twin County Regional Healthcare

Happy New Year! Have you made any resolutions yet? As the calendar turns to a fresh page, many of us make a fresh resolve to eat better, do better and be better. But have you ever made a resolution to sleep better? It’s one you may want to consider.

Many people don’t connect the dots between the quality of their sleep and the quality of their overall health. Most adults need at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night to maintain good health.

Unfortunately, a number of us aren’t quite measuring up. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a third of U.S. adults say they typically get less than the recommended amount of sleep. And a lack of proper sleep doesn’t just make you feel groggy the next morning.

Besides the feeling of being tired, poor sleeping habits can increase your risk for high blood pressure, elevated stress levels, weight gain, depression, loss of motor skills and poor heart health, and can put you or others in danger when operating motor vehicles or other machinery.

There are a number of things you can do to improve your sleep habits – without having to count sheep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following tips for better sleep:

• Stick to a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends

• Find a relaxing, nightly bedtime ritual away from bright light, and build time into your schedule to “wind down” before bed

• Exercise daily

• Create a pro-sleep environment, with a cool air temperature, and minus the noise, distraction and light that can disrupt your sleep

• Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable and supportive (If you’ve had your mattress longer than 10 years, it might be a good idea to invest in a new one)