Getting enough sleep at night is an integral part of your physical and mental wellbeing. Lack of sleep has been linked to a number of disorders and diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Therefore, it is recommended, that on average you get at least 7-9 hours of shut-eye. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 24.2% of Hawaii adults reported not getting enough sleep in less than or equal to 14 days in the past 30 days!
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What puts me at risk of not getting enough sleep?
- A busy lifestyle
- Occupational factors (work hours, access to technology)
- High levels of stress
- Anxiety and depression
- Circadian rhythm disorders (such as jet lag)
- Chronic diseases (diabetes, arthritis, HIV/AIDS, lupus etc.)
- Certain medications
- Menopause / hot flashes
- Hormonal changes in pregnancy
Sleeping disorders can include a number of illnesses such as insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, narcolepsy, night terrors, and sleep walking just to name a few. According to CDC, sleep is divided into two parts: REM, and non REM (NREM) sleep. NREM sleep has four stages of increasingly deep sleep. Stage 1 sleep is the lightest, while stage 4 is the deepest. During normal sleep, you cycle through these types and stages of sleep. But if your sleep is repeatedly interrupted and you cannot cycle normally through REM and NREM sleep, you may feel tired, fatigued, and have trouble concentrating and paying attention while awake.
How can I make sure I’ll get plenty of sleep at night?
- Get into routine (Go to bed and wake up at the same time each morning)
- Engage in a moderately challenging physical activity during the day
- Avoid vigorous exercise a few hours before going to bed
- Avoid large meals before bedtime
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime
- Avoid nicotine
- Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and at a moderate temperature
- Remove all TVs, computers, and other “gadgets” from the bedroom
- Drink chamomile tea
- Keep a sleep diary
- Seek out professional help if needed