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Make Sleep Your Superpower

Are you a super sleeper, or are you super sleepy? Sleep health is the quality and quantity of the sleep you get, and it can affect your physical, mental, and emotional functioning. 

How much is enough? The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 8 hours a night. 

Sleep Health

I ask my patients about their sleep because it can have a significant impact on their health and quality of life. In fact, people who  treat sleep like their personal superpower enjoy several benefits.

  • Think better. Improve your attention, concentration, decision-making skills and memory consolidation, which is how memories are stored in the brain. 
  • Stave of sickness. Boost your immune system, regulate your hormones, reduce your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes and improve your ability to maintain a healthy weight. 
  • Lift your mood. Feel more refreshed, energized and able to concentrate as you experience less irritability, fewer mood swings and difficulty concentrating. 
  • Increase your energy. Good sleep provides energy for your busy day. It’s essential for muscle recovery and can help your athletic performance.
  • Avoid unnecessary accidents. Getting enough sleep can help you stay alert and focused, and reduce your risk of accidents on the road, at work and at home. 

Sleep Hygiene

How to become a super sleeper? Sleep hygiene is practicing healthy habits that can help you get a good zzzzzzs. Add these practices to your daily routine to improve your sleep health.  

  • Set a sleep schedule. Stick to it as much as possible, even on weekends, to help regulate your body's natural sleep-wake cycle.
  • Relax before bed. Turn off the electronics and wind down with a warm bath, a book or calming music.
  • Keep it dark, quiet and cool. These conditions in your bedroom are ideal for sleep. This may also include avoiding exposure to television or technology near bedtime, as this can have an impact on circadian rhythms by shifting sleep timing later.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. Both substances can interfere with sleep duration and quality, so stop both hours before bedtime. 
  • Exercise by day. Working out can help you fall asleep more easily, but it can also make it harder to fall asleep if it’s too close to bedtime.

If you have trouble sleeping for more than two weeks, or you snore through the night, talk to your doctor. You may have a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea, insomnia and narcolepsy. These are common and can affect people of all ages. Most find relief – and better sleep – with the right treatment. 

Margaret Nordstrom, DNP
Margaret Nordstrom, DNP

Margaret Nordstrom, DNP is a Family Nurse Practitioner at CHI St. Alexius Health.

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