What was your 2019 New Year’s resolution? Was it centered around your health, or maybe your work or relationships? What about getting better sleep? It may not be the most popular or obvious resolution, but it’s the one that can make the most difference in terms of positively affecting multiple areas of your life.
Below, we talk about all the physical, mental and emotional benefits that sleep has to offer. You might be surprised at how much a little extra shut eye can improve your day-to-day life.
Improve Your Sleep, Improve Your Health
Sleep offers the most bang for your buck across the board when it comes to ways to boost your overall health. Some of the benefits of good sleep (7-9 hours a night) include:
- Younger looking skin: Those who get good sleep will, overall, experience less skin aging and tend to be more satisfied with their appearance than those who chronically get poor sleep.
- Better memory: Research suggests that there are specific memories that are established during sleep, and, additionally, that sleep helps consolidate formed memories.
- Improved focus: Consistent sleep deprivation makes you groggy and hurts your ability to fully be present in your work and personal life.
- Strong immunity: Research has found that those who sleep less than six hours a night are 4.2 times more likely to catch a cold than those who get seven or more hours of sleep.
- Balanced weight: It is widely accepted that consistent, quality sleep can protect from weight gain, and that sleep deprivation can contribute to unwanted extra pounds.
When you don’t get enough sleep, you increase your risk for:
- Car accidents: Drowsy driving is responsible for thousands of accidents, injuries, and fatalities every year.
- Cardiovascular disease: Sleep deprivation is associated with hypertension, coronary heart disease, and diabetes.
- Anxiety and depression: Sleeping less than the recommended eight hours a night is associated with intrusive, repetitive thoughts seen in those with anxiety or depression.
Should You Make Sleep Your New Year’s Resolution?
Take our short quiz below. If you find yourself answering “yes” to two or more of these questions, it could be time to make sleep one of your New Year’s resolutions.
- Do you often wake up feeling just as tired as when you went to bed?
- Do you regularly give yourself only 5-6 hours of sleep?
- Do you often have a difficult time concentrating on everyday tasks?
- Do you find yourself easily falling asleep while sitting?
- Do you often notice redness, puffiness, dark circles, or bags around your eyes?
- Do you find yourself relying on caffeine just to get through the day?
- Do you notice you tend to be irritable, stressed, or angry more often than not?
- Do you have trouble remembering things?
How To Get Help if You Need It
Oftentimes, sleep can be quickly improved by making adjustments to your lifestyle habits. Sleep hygiene improvements can include simple things like allotting 7-8 hours each night for proper rest and turning off all electronics an hour before bed, to more complex adjustments like making changes to your diet or keeping a consistent sleep/wake schedule (this is a hard one for a lot of people!).
However, there can sometimes be a more serious issue causing your inability to get good sleep or feel rested, such as obstructive sleep apnea. This is a condition where, during the night, an obstruction in the airway causes the sufferer to temporarily stop breathing. To initiate breathing again, the body wakes itself up. This cycle can repeat itself as many as 30 times or more an hour, and the continual interruption in sleep can cause significant mental, physical and emotional harm. If you believe you may have untreated sleep apnea, it’s important to see a professional and take the next step towards improved sleep.
During an appointment with Dr. Jeff Rodgers, the dental sleep medicine practitioner at Sleep Better Georgia, you can learn more about sleep apnea, how it could be affecting your life, and then, begin the treatment journey to restored rest and improved health. Don’t hesitate to contact us today and make 2019 your year for great sleep!