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Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Shut Eye to Help Stave Off Health Problems

Check out this article from the Roper St. Francis e-newsletter Health Link on the benefits of getting more sleep:

Catch Some ZZZs and Boost Your Health

Besides making you drowsy the next day, not sleeping enough can cause you to feel cranky and mentally drained. It also can have longer-term effects, according to recent studies in theArchives of Internal Medicine. Over time, lack of sleep may pack on the pounds.

There’s also evidence that not getting enough sleep could raise the risk for diabetes and coronary heart disease. How come? Sleep affects our hormone levels and the amount of inflammation in our body, which can contribute to arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions. In general, people who sleep less than seven hours have a higher rate of death.

So how much sleep should you be getting? The ideal amount for adults is between seven and eight hours each night.

All Ages Missing Out on Sleep
Sleep troubles affect all ages. Like their parents, many teens and children struggle to get by with too little sleep. Sleep complaints also are common among older adults—and may be tied to other issues. For instance, poor sleepers in one study in the British Journal of General Practice were three times more likely to be depressed than those who didn’t complain of sleep problems.

Bad Habits Can Chase Away Mr. Sandman
Your routine could be behind your sleep woes. So tonight, put away the bills and save the heated family debates for another time. Here are some suggestions for better snoozing:

  • Go for a walk in the late afternoon.
  • Eat a light dinner and nothing that is too spicy.
  • Turn off the TV, sip some herbal tea, and listen to soft music to relax before bed.
  • Replace your mattress if you’ve had it for more than a decade.
  • Take a hot bath before going to bed.
  • Try not to sleep in on the weekend—this “catching up” makes it harder on your body during the week.

If you continue to struggle with sleep, see your doctor.