5 Reasons To Get Better Sleep

By Drew Heideman, PT, ATC 

5 Reasons to Get Better Sleep

Sleep is so important to maintain good health and wellness. JOI Rehab has identified 5 reasons to get better sleep.

1.You Can Live Longer:

People with chronic insomnia are more likely to suffer a heart attack. Lack of sleep can increase risk of dying from a stroke and developing breast cancer as shown in other studies.

2.Be Slimmer:

According to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, women who slept five or fewer hours per night were 32% more likely to experience major weight gain over 16 years.

3. Be Sharper:

Middle-aged women who slept fewer than six hours a night scored similarly to senior citizens on memory, reasoning, and vocabulary tests.

4. Be Nicer:

Research suggests that lack of rest can make people rude. Source: Shape Magazine

5. Improve your Marriage and Other Relationships:

Women who have difficulty sleeping experienced more negative interactions with their husbands the next day.

JOI REHAB article on sleep

Sleep Is Important for your health

How Much Sleep Do we Really Need?

It has been an age old adage, how many hours of sleep do our bodies need to recuperate.  So, we can wake up the next morning refreshed and ready to face what the day brings? As the demands of life increase in number and complexity, let us look at the effects of temporary and chronic sleep deprivation. It may surprise you to learn that sleep deprivation, for whatever reason, can significantly affect your health, performance and safety. According to an article by Michael J. Breus, PhD, sleep deprivation in the short term decreases alertness and performance. Reducing nighttime sleep by 1 ½ hours could result in 32% decrease in alertness. Sleep deprivation can impair memory and cognitive ability as well as disrupt our relationships with others secondary to mood changes.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 accidents, 71,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities each year. Decreased alertness can lead to a two-fold increase in risk of sustaining an occupational injury. Untreated sleep disorders that cause chronic sleep deprivation can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, obesity, psychiatric problems including depression and mood disorders, mental impairments, fetal and growth retardation, injury, disruption of bed partner’s sleep quality and poor quality of life.

Longest Sleep Restriction Study

The longest sleep restriction study was done by David Dinges and Hans Van Dongen at the Laboratory in the Hospital at University of Pennsylvania. This study suggests the lack of sleep affects our ability to sustain attention as shown by the Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT). This measures the sustained attention that is vital for our day to day activities. The study showed that those who had 8 hours of rest hardly had any attention lapses and no cognitive declines over the 14 days of the study.

Those who had 4 hours and 6 hours of sleep showed a steady decline in sustained attention with each subsequent day. Although the 4 hours group performed far worse, it is interesting to note that the 6 hour group also consistently fell off-task. By the sixth day, the 6 hours of sleep group experienced five times as many attention lapses as they did the first day. So, if 8 hours is ideal and 6 hours puts us at risk, what about 7?

What about 7 Hours of Sleep?

A study by Gregory Belenky to see the effects of odd numbers of hours sleeping showed that those who slept for 7 hours each night had slower response time to the P.V.T. and continued to decrease for 3 subsequent days before stabilizing at lower levels than when they started. The study by Dinges also showed that some people who need 8 hours of rest will immediately feel the effects of a single night of 4 hours of rest while others can handle experience several 4 hours of rest a night before a decline in performance is noted.

Does This Mean Everyone Needs Sleep to Perform Efficiently?

However, there is a small portion (5% or less) of the population that for whatever reason can maintain their performance with five or fewer hours of sleep. Before you reach for that next cup of coffee to wake you up during the mid-afternoon work hours, think about ways you can get enough rest the next night. Sleeping not only keeps us beautiful on the outside, but most importantly from the inside as well.

The Importance of Better Sleep by JOI Rehab

Sleep is Important

Best Tips to Get Better Sleep

1. Turn off electronics one hour before bed time. This includes: television, computers, and other gadgets.

2. Ease up on caffeine, especially after lunch time. Caffeine lingers in your system for 12 hours.

3. Cut off liquids at least an hour prior to bed time. Frequent night time trips to the bathroom can wreck your restful night.

4. Keep your room cool. Set the thermostat at 65 plus or minus five degrees. This range allows your body to stay comfortable without having to shiver to warm up or perspire to cool down.

5. Make the bed. Researchers think a messy room can leave you stressed and restless.

6. Get up on Saturdays and Sundays. This helps keep your body in a good cycle.

7. Alcoholic beverages may seem to help you.  But, they can affect your body’s ability to get the deep restful sleep your body needs. Limit yourself to one glass, three hours before bed.

8.Spray a light scent of lavender on your pillow. People who sniffed lavender oil before going to bed spent more time in REM and woke up feeling better rested.

By: Drew Heideman, PT, ATC 

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