Lifestyle Blog

Sleep for Optimal Health

Life Balance, Sleep

by Alexis Peraino, MD, FACP & Leon Henderson-MacLennan, MD, FACP
Internal Medicine at California Health & Longevity Institute

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, sleep is essential for optimal health. Unfortunately, sleep tends to be a health habit that frequently that frequently and easily gets compromised. Getting enough sleep tends to be a luxury many adults only enjoy on the weekends. However, studies show that good quality sleep promotes health, prevents disease and improves mental well-being. Healthy People 2020, a federal initiative to improve the health of the US population by 2020, created an objective to increase the number of American adults who get a sufficient amount of sleep regularly.

At California Health & Longevity Institute we want to bring awareness to the connection between quality sleep, optimal health and disease prevention. Below are some tips to improve your sleep!

How much sleep is enough?
The recommendations for sleep are based on age. Adults, 18 to 60 years of age, should sleep 7 or more hours per night on a regular basis. Children and teens require more sleep, as do young adults, elderly adults, pregnant women, individuals who are sleep deprived, and those recovering from an illness. One of the important components to this recommendation includes the need for consistent and regular sleep.

What health conditions are associated with lack of sleep?
Current evidence suggests that lack of sleep is associated with an increased risk of disease.  Sleeping less than 7 hours per night is associated with:
– Weight gain and obesity
– Diabetes
– Hypertension
– Heart disease and stroke
– Depression
– Impaired immune function
– Increased pain
– Impaired cognitive performance, increased risk of errors, and greater risk of accidents.

Does the quality of the sleep matter?
Yes!  Good quality sleep is essential and is just as important as the number of hours you sleep per night.  Contact your physician to discuss any of the following signs of poor quality sleep:
– Not feeling well-rested even after getting enough sleep
– Repeatedly waking up in the middle of the night
– Experiencing symptoms of sleep disorders, such as snoring or gasping for air

What is good sleep hygiene?
– Be consistent! Go to bed and get up at the same time each day, including weekends.
– Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.
– Remove electronic devices from the bedroom – TVs, computers, and smart phones.
– Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bed.
– Exercise! Physical activity during the day will help you fall asleep more easily.

What is insomnia?
Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint, 30-35% of adults experience insomnia.  Insomnia is more common in older adults, women, people under stress, and those with medical or mental health problems.  Insomnia can include difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep through the night, and waking too early in the morning.  The causes and symptoms of insomnia can vary significantly, but can impact work performance, impair decision-making, and reduce overall quality of life.