Embrace Sleep during Stressful Times
Sleep interruptions are more likely to occur during times of stress – too much sleep, not enough sleep or even sleep interrupted by dreams. So why is sleep so important? Sleep reboots your brain. During quality sleep, your body relaxes and gives stress hormones a much needed break.
“The restorative effects of sleep benefit us in many ways,” said Wendi Schutte, clinical manager for Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center. “Better sleep can increase immunity to sickness, help maintain a healthier weight, lower risk for serious health problems like diabetes and heart disease, reduce stress, improve mood and even sharpen mental focus and clarity.”
People require different amounts of sleep depending upon age. According to the National Sleep Foundation, as we grow older, we need fewer hours of sleep but even adults 65 and older still require seven to eight hours a night.
Want to better monitor your sleep? Keep a sleep journal for a few weeks. Many health trackers provide the number of hours of sleep, and some even report the length of time in restful sleep. If your sleep isn’t stacking up in a healthy way, consider these tweaks to your sleeping environment and routine.
- Go to bed at roughly the same time every night – even on weekends.
- Avoid frantically cleaning the kitchen, drinking or eating, watching a suspenseful film or sporting event right before you climb into bed. Instead do something relaxing: take a bath, meditate, read a book or even try yoga stretches.
- Create a comfortable sleeping space by incorporating an appropriate temperature, sound and light level as well as space.
- Many of us spend a third of each day in bed. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows.
- Choose wisely when selecting food and beverage choices. Alcohol and caffeine negatively impact your sleep. Large meals two hours or less before going to bed can also interfere with your sleep.
- Exercise during the day to help improve sleep quality
If sleep issues persist, consider reaching out to the Memorial Medical Center/Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Sleep Disorders Center. Or visit our affiliate hospital websites below for additional information about sleep assistance at a location close to you.