How Did You Sleep Last Night? (Jun. 2016)

Sleep

insufficient sleep can cause ill health

We all know that a good night’s sleep is important but do you really know why? There has long been recognition that insufficient sleep can cause ill health by increasing risk of infection, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. A study by the Oregon Health & Science University has now shown that decreased sleep could also be speeding the development of Alzheimer’s causing amyloid plaques.

So what can you do to ensure that you are getting your 40 winks? Some of the suggestions from the National Sleep Foundation include avoiding stimulants, including alcohol and nicotine, too close to bed time. While a night cap may cause you to drift off more quickly, it will actually disrupt sleep later on as your body metabolizes the alcohol. The same holds true for exercise. While a great tool to tire you out, exercise also releases cortisol in the brain which will prevent you from falling asleep so exercise at least three hours before bed.

But if you have tried everything including a calming pre-bedtime routine and are still not successful, or wake up during the night and cannot return to sleep, don’t be a clock-watcher. Stressing yourself out about being awake by counting the seconds pass can actually make it even more difficult to sleep and can lead to negative associations with your nighttime routine. If you are unable to fall asleep, don’t pressure yourself, instead get up and participate in a relaxing quiet activity such as reading until you feel ready to return to bed.

Remember, sleep can be one of your best and easiest health allies so sleep well.

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

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