Getting Enough SleepGetting Enough Sleep

By Sally Goluboff, L.Ac.

Sleep is an essential part of our well-being that many people do not pay enough attention to. When we don't get enough sleep, we may feel fatigued, foggy headed and moody. The Mayo Clinic recommends that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. The number of hours you sleep is important, but so is the quality of your sleep. If you are getting up several times during the night or have interrupted sleep, it's just as harmful as not getting enough hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation can affect your mental clarity, put you at risk as a driver, and impact most things you do.

You may think you don't have enough time to get things done and also get to bed at a reasonable time, but sleep really needs to be a priority for your physical as well as mental health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who are short on sleep are more likely to suffer from hypertension, diabetes, depression and obesity, and are at greater risk of cancer, reduced quality of life and impaired performance.

Good sleep hygiene helps prepare both your body and mind for a good night's sleep. Turn off or silence all electronics at least an hour before bedtime. Wind down from the day with a bath, a few minutes of easy yoga stretching or a favorite meditation. Dim the lights to signal to your brain that it's time for bed and when you turn off the light, be sure your bedroom is as dark as possible. Sometimes the issue is not just getting to bed at a reasonable time. Sleep disorders also can be a problem. Insomnia is a common one. People with insomnia have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or both. If you're sensitive to caffeine, know how much coffee, tea or chocolate you can tolerate by what time of day without it interfering with your sleep. Many pharmaceuticals can help get you through the night, but they often come with unwanted side effects and can create a dependency.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be very helpful for insomnia, as can teas with chamomile and other calming herbs. Acupuncturists can prescribe an herbal formula to take before bedtime to help calm your mind as well as your body. Herbs can help stimulate hormone circulation and production of neurotransmitters which in turn help you sleep.

Many people find that they have difficulty losing weight when they don't sleep enough, or they feel irritable and have hormonal issues such as irregular periods. If you make the right changes to get enough hours of sleep as well as good quality sleep on a daily basis, you will feel energized and experience a sense of improved well-being, mental clarity and mood. Come and see us if you'd like some help in getting the sleep you need and deserve.

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