Our bodies function on an internal clock, often called circadian rythm. When lifestyle, nutrition, lack of sunshine or stress get in the way of this natural process, health suffers. However, there are small changes we can make to limit these deleterious effects. As I continue to survey the research and process my converstion with Dr. Mouton I will try to provide the best, evidence-based ways to combat poor sleep.
Here are some highlights from the sleep lecture with Dr Mouton:
-Less than 6.5 hours of sleep per night over time can cause health problems including diabetes, obesity, heart disease and more. Healthy college-age students who get less than 5 hours of sleep for 5 consecutive nights will have the lab values of diabetics!
-Interrupted sleep can be harmful as well. If possible, a quick power nap in the early afternoon may be helpful. Just keep it to about 20 minutes.
-Poor sleep is not a product of normal aging.
-There are effective, medication-free ways to get control of sleep.
-The most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea is obesity. However, anyone can be at risk. Worried about the mask? Don’t be! There are many options.
-If you don’t have the energy to wake up and get through your day without stimulants like caffiene, you aren’t getting enough sleep. Try going to be even 15 minutes earlier.
-You can develop ‘sleep debt’ from chronic sleep loss. Have a few days set aside to get extra sleep to repay the debt.
-Exposure to sun or full-spectrum light can reset your sleep clock and may be especially important in the winter months.