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Hitting the sack for your health

"Sleep is the golden chain that binds our health and our bodies together." -Thomas Dekker

Not again. It was the dog barking one night. It was my son’s nightmare another night. Two nights in a row of interruptions and I was feeling off kilter. I knew I must double down on my efforts to make the next night of sleep count. Like many, good sleep is a really critical part of my stress resilience. When I have too many nights in a row of insomnia or disruptions, I just do not feel myself.



LINK -POOR SLEEP TO POOR HEALTH

Studies have shown that poor sleep is a risk factor for depression, suicidal thoughts, obesity,and may make conditions such as gastrointestinal issues and diabetes mellitus worse. This holds true for both children and adults. Good sleep can be a buffer to help us focus better, handle stressors better, and get sick less often.


WHAT CAN I DO TO TACKLE SLEEP?

Knowing the importance, what can one do? Some may feel it is the luck of the draw - you either get a good night or you don’t. Though some people have some complex sleep issues and benefit from a doctor’s evaluation to check for sleep disorders or other health issues which impact rest, this is the minority. For the rest of us, research studies have shown that putting some effort into “sleep hygiene” can really make a difference. Suggestions such as keeping your sleep environment cool and comfortable,eliminating background noises and excessive light, including electronic devices, can set the stage for a better night. Experts recommend going to bed and getting up at a consistent time helps set your sleep-wake clock.


CBT-i

These rules and several more make up a practice called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia or CBT-i. This approach to sleep has great support in the medical literature for those who want to avoid sleeping pills and to help those trying to get off sleep-aids alike.

Putting effort into one’s sleep routine can have a great pay off whether you want to ace your exams, get through a stressful workday, or perhaps even maintain your weight better. Shut-eye might be your next step toward a healthier you. I know I will be working on my plan.



Short and long-term consequences of sleep disruption

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28579842

Cognitive behavioral treatment of insomnia

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4694188/



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