improve your life—more sleep

A simple way to significantly improve your life—more sleep


If someone told you there was one thing you could do that would improve your memory and thinking ability, lower your stress level, improve your mood, lower your risk of several common cancers, keep you thinner, improve your immune system, and help keep your heart healthy, would you be interested?

That one thing is: get more sleep. Of course you might be one of the lucky ones who get enough sleep, but many people are not so fortunate. Public health authorities consider sleep deprivation a public health crisis, as 1/3 of adults don’t get enough sleep, and 80% report sleep problems at least once a week.

Am I getting enough sleep?

Most people have in mind that eight hours is the ideal amount, but this is not true for everyone. In general, though, sleep experts believe that most people should be getting a minimum of 7 hours per night. The best way to tell how much sleep you need is the simplest way. Find the sleep time that allows you to wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the next day. Then try for that amount every night.

What if I don’t get enough sleep?

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, “Sleeping less than seven hours per night on a regular basis is associated with adverse health outcomes, including weight gain and obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke, depression and increased risk of death.” Besides that, you will not function as well at home and work, and not enjoy your day as much as you should.

Breast and prostate cancer

A further issue not mentioned in that quote is that sleep deprived people have a higher risk of certain cancers, especially breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men (both hormone sensitive cancers). It is believed these cancers occur more in sleep deprivation because it depresses your immune system, and pushes your hormones out of balance. Melatonin and cortisol levels are distorted, which directly affect other hormones, such as estrogen.

How do I get better sleep?

We summarized recommendations from experts at the Harvard Medical School in this post. But if we had to choose just one way to improve the sleep of most people, it would be: stop looking at your computer, tablet, or phone screen for the 2 hours before you go to bed. You can read more here why the blue hued light from these devices works against good sleep, and is one big reason sleep problems are more common now than 20 or 30 years ago.

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See also in ProcuraMed:

You may have sleep apnea without realizing it

A relaxation technique to fall asleep quickly

Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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