Sleep and Health: How Sleep Can Effect Your Health

By Chris Haro

How many times in our lives have we complained about the amount of sleep, or better yet the lack of sleep that we get through the night, leading to groggy mornings, grumpy days and underproduction at home and work? Well, studies show that the lack of sleep can do more than just make you groggy, it can effect your health and relationships as well.

Many people will attribute stresses of life to the poor sleeping habits; family issues, finances, work. Your mind is always working, and as your brain preserves everything you have learned every day, your body will produce a hormone from the endocrine system that stimulates muscle repair and your immune system get a much needed boost. When the stresses of life keep you up, or keep you getting up through the night, the chances of your body getting the needed rest it needs effects you, leaving you wide open to getting sick and other health issues.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is becoming a bigger problem in America today. There are many people who suffer from this dreaded problem and don’t know about it or have not done anything to fix or minimize the issue. Apnea can cause many dangerous issues such as high blood pressure and heart disease, GERD, asthma and type 2 Diabetes. Without proper air flow while you sleep, your body can’t properly get the rest it needs, even if you sleep 6-8 hours. If you feel that you may have sleep apnea, contact your physician, and schedule a sleep study test.

Sleep and Alcohol

Many believe that a nice glass or two or ten is a great way to tire out and get a good night’s rest. Some studies, like a study by Michelle Roberts of BBC shows that too much alcohol use can lead to fragmented sleep, causing less restful sleep and may turn people into snorers. In some cases, it may lead to insomnia. That is definitely something NOT to drink about.

Great Tips to a Restful Night

Just like anything else, finding the answer to your sleeping woes can be in the daily routine you have. Your schedule, bedtime habits and your daily lifestyle choices can make a big impact on how well you rest. Here are a few things to consider taking a look at to get better rest.

1. Keep a regular sleep schedule. Knowing your body’s natural schedule is key to helping you get better rest, and sticking to the schedule is just as important. Set a time, and try not to break the routine, even on the weekends. If you want to change your sleeping routine, slowly work your way into the new times.

2. Napping.  A good nap can give you a great recharge, especially as we get older, but fair warning, it can also lead to insomnia in adults. Try avoiding naps, and if you have to, do it during the middle of the day and for only 20-30 minutes.

3. Wake up the same time every day. Weekends are for sleeping in, right? Well, actually, in keeping a healthy sleep schedule, getting up the same time every day will help your body stay on track. You should be able to wake up every day without an alarm clock. If you are waking up with an alarm, you might need to find an earlier bedtime.

4. Do things to stay active between dinner and bedtime. Many fight being sleepy at night between dinner and going to bed, so work on being active during that time to prevent you from dozing off. Wash the dishes, plan your next day or call someone. For some folks, giving into the drowsiness and falling asleep a few times before going to bed will result in waking up throughout the night and trouble getting back to sleep.

As a person works hard to be healthy by going to the gym, losing weight and eating healthy, sleep is another factor that is many times overlooked in a healthy lifestyle. Pay attention to your sleeping habits and make a point to get a schedule down that gives you the proper amount and most relaxing sleep throughout the night. When you are well rested, your body will be a stronger tool, helping you in all areas of your life.