A Good Night’s Sleep is Essential for Good Health!

The UF Health Douglas Williams Executive Health offers a full range of advanced diagnostic services to detect life-threatening conditions and extend life through prevention and early intervention all in one productive and efficient day. Throughout your Executive Health Physical, you will receive a full comprehensive medical exam, empowering lifestyle modification tools, all your test completed, questions answered and test results back the same day!

Each month we have shared helpful strategies to guide you towards achieving attainable goals to become a healthier version of yourself. Creating a balanced healthy lifestyle involves many small steps and changes. Making these changes and breaking bad habits is not always an easy task. The Executive Health nurse, Destiny Knopf, will share additional tips and tricks, which will assist you in achieving your ultimate wellness goal.

Has a friend ever bragged about how refreshed he/she feels after just four or five hours of sleep the night before? Do you find yourself on an inconsistent schedule when it comes to your own sleep habits? These examples might lead you to ask the question, “How much sleep do I need?”

The answers depends on various factors, such as your age, mental and physical health, and work schedule. Before we get into how many hours, you should be dedicating to sleep every night, let’s look at how our bodies react when we get too much or too little sleep.

You’re probably already aware of some of the health benefits of sleep. When you get a good night’s rest, you’re alert, you’re in a better mood, you feel stronger, and you look and feel refreshed. What you may not know, is that regular and restful sleep also allows your brain, cells, organs, and tissues to repair and maintain themselves, helps regulate beneficial hormone levels, and enhances your immune system. So what happens to your body when you don’t get enough rest? In the short term, a lack of sufficient sleep can negatively affect your mood and ability to concentrate. Long-term effects leading to sleep deprivation can include serious complications such as depression, stress, anxiety, brain damage, and an increased risk of dementia.

“Is there such a thing as too much sleep?” The short answer is yes. Like sleep deprivation, oversleeping can cause fatigue, anxiety and memory problems. More seriously, it also increases your risk of diabetes, obesity, back pain, depression, heart disease, and headaches. If you consistently don’t get enough sleep during your workweek and then attempt to “catch up” by oversleeping on non-work days, can also have an adverse effect on your health. “Social jet lag”, the time difference between sleep patterns on workdays and days off, can cause poor health, bad moods, increased sleepiness, and fatigue.

Now that you understand, that not enough sleep and too much sleep can both negatively influence your health, the big question is, how much sleep should we be getting? According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults between the ages of 18 and 64 should get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. Adults over the age of 65 only need seven to eight hours of sleep. Some individuals may find that sleeping about an hour less or an hour more than the recommended guidelines works for their lifestyle. This variance is acceptable, but sleeping two hours more or two hours less than the recommended sleep times appropriate for your age may cause or indicate serious health issues.

Getting the answer the question, “how much sleep do I need?” may not be helpful to you if you are having trouble sleeping in the first place. Oftentimes, getting a good night’s rest isn’t as simple as lying down in bed and closing your eyes. Many of us have a hard time winding down our brains after a long day of work or school. Here are some simple tips to regulate and improve your sleep pattern:
• Establish a consistent bedtime routine with a fixed bedtime and awakening time.
• Avoid taking napes too close to bedtime and make sure naps during the day are limited to 20-
30 minutes.
• Reserve the bed for the THREE S’s: sleep, sex, and sickness.
• Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible. Try calming music,
white noise, or nature sounds as background noise if complete silence tends to cause anxiety.
• Avoid anything that may stimulate your brain or body right before bedtime, including caffeine,
nicotine, alcohol, cell phones, exercise, and large meals.
• Use comfortable bedding and keep your bedroom at a good temperature to keep the room
well ventilated.
• Try relaxation techniques and don’t take your worries to bed.
• Get into your favorite sleeping position. Don’t toss and turn in bed. If you think it’s been more
than 30 minutes, get up, and do a relaxing activity.

“Sleep is an investment in the energy you need to be effective tomorrow!”

For more information on the UF Health Douglas Williams Executive Health Program, visit www.exechealth.ufl.edu or contact us at (352) 265-8262.