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Why Sleep is Important

Getting a good night’s sleep means more than waking up refreshed in the morning. Sleep can also have a major impact on both our physical health and cognitive brain function.

One problem that can occur if you are not getting enough sleep is sleep apnea. This occurs when your upper airway closes while you are asleep. This causes you to stop breathing briefly. It doesn’t take long for blood pressure to increase, as well as levels of stress hormones and fat. The condition also has been linked to depression and even cognitive problems like dementia. If you have a snoring problem it is important for you to get assessed and treated. This means using a CPAP machine.

Another problem that occurs with getting a good night’s sleep is actually falling asleep in the first place. Insomnia means losing out on the optimal 7-8 hours of sleep we need each night to function well during the day.

One thing you can do is to change up your diet. Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages after 2 PM. Also, you can eat food that contains melatonin such as walnuts, tomatoes, tart cherry juice concentrate, and ginger root. Another food solution is consuming carbohydrates that are healthier like quinoa, sweet potatoes, and bananas. These can help by providing tryptophan, which in turn raises serotonin levels in the body. Also, consider taking a multivitamin and avoid eating grapefruit at night, which contains a lot of acids, which contributes to heartburn.

You can also make healthy lifestyle changes to improve your sleep. Turn off electronic devices an hour before bedtime. Maintain a regular sleep schedule with a consistent bedtime.  Keep your bedroom cool, block out light, and ensure there is little noise.

If you are still struggling with getting to sleep, consider participating in therapy.  Cognitive behavioral therapy is helpful, as well as hypnotic therapy.

Want to learn more about why sleep is important? You can read the full post by Amen Clinics here:  The Most Important 7 Hours of the Day.