Wellness Wednesday



I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers talking about their sleep issues lately. I’ve had my share of sleepless nights myself, enough to have a couple of prescriptions for sleep aids. I have also recently started a brand new routine that has me waking up many hours before my usual wake up time. So with all this attention on sleep, I decided to gather a few facts and of course I want to share them with y’all!

According to the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (National Institutes of Health), we need sleep for a variety of reasons, including cell repair (beauty sleep!) and performance of both memory and physical functions.

The NINDS also tells us that adults typically need 7 to 8 hours of sleep, which we’ve all had drilled into our heads at least at some point in our lives. But get this: “Experts say that if you feel drowsy during the day, even during boring activities, you haven't had enough sleep. If you routinely fall asleep within 5 minutes of lying down, you probably have severe sleep deprivation, possibly even a sleep disorder.” Wow. The husband can fall asleep instantly, even if we’re lying in bed talking! I mentioned this fact to him and he concurred. He notices that he doesn’t wake up feeling rested even though he has no problem falling asleep or staying asleep. I think it’s time for him to make a doctor’s appointment about that, no?

I, on the other hand, have a bigger issue with falling asleep, and then a smaller problem with staying asleep. I routinely feel like I *need* the TV on to help me fall asleep, and when I don’t fall asleep even while watching Adult Swim all night, I resort to getting out the laptop while in bed. My reasoning is that it helps my eyes get tired. But I know I shouldn’t be doing this and I need to break this cycle. My smaller problem with staying asleep occurs when I finally do fall asleep, but something wakes me up…then I can’t fall back to sleep! It is so frustrating to just watch the hours pass by knowing I have to get up and start my day soon. And then I resort to the original TV/Laptop cycle.

Here’s a little chart I got from the National Sleep Foundation. It has tips on ways to establish a healthy sleep routine.


Tips for Sleeping Smart

*Establish a regular bed and wake time
*Avoid nicotine altogether and avoid caffeine close to bedtime
*Avoid alcohol
*Exercise regularly (but complete the workout at least 3 hours before bedtime)
*Establish a consistent relaxing “wind-down” bedtime routine
*Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet and comfortable
*Discuss the appropriate way to take any sleep aid with a healthcare professional

Are you sleeping smart? For more information visit www.sleepingsmart.org.

I know I need to work on the first item on that list. It isn't uncommon that I'll sit up all night on the laptop because I'm addicted to y'all's blogs! And I like to watch my beloved Family Guy even though I've seen every freakin' episode. But the reality is that I have to wake up at 5 AM. To get a nice 8 hours of sleep, I should be asleep by 9 PM. Which means I really need to wind down a little before bed so that I'm ready to fall asleep. So I guess I should try not to get online after 8 PM so that I can let my body clock take over and allow me to get tired. Is that possible? I think not....but I'll try.

What is your bedtime routine like? Do you have any tips for the sleepless?

2 comments:

  amandakayhill

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I was JUST thinking I needed to blog about sleep because I have such trouble with it lately. I am like you -- it takes me a long time to fall asleep, but then I stay asleep pretty well. I think I need more than most people since I always seem to be tired the next day, so I definitely should try to exercise more and get to bed earlier. I've been staying up lately a lot later than I really need to.

  Jenny

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sleep...this is very common in the office as well. The thing that people tend to struggle the most with is the tv. By turning on the tv, the light from it actually signals the brain to be more awake, and you get this cycle all over again. The light from the computer has the same effect. So KA, I would recommend not watching tv or being on the laptop in bed. The doctors I work with tell patients that you should be using your bed for two things: sleeping and sex. That's it.
*Gets off soapbox