Interesting Sleep Facts: Know Your Zzzs

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sleeping manWe spend a full third of our lives asleep, but there’s still so much many of us don’t know about this essential aspect of our health. Sleep is an important opportunity to recharge and rejuvenate our minds and bodies. Without any sleep, our health quickly fails because sleep impacts every organ system in the human body.

Getting adequate rest isn’t necessarily a high priority for many Americans. According to one Gallup poll, 40 percent of Americans admit they don’t usually get enough sleep. Typical zzz’s per night is now down to 6.8 hours (from an hour higher back in 1942). We’re sleeping less, even when we know we shouldn’t.

What You Don’t Know About Sleep CAN Hurt You

Resting gets your body and mind ready for a new day. It keeps your brain sharp and focused so you can learn and process new information. Believe it or not, sleep also helps a lot of other areas of your body.

Need more reasons to get enough shut-eye every night? Read on about these sleep benefits:

  • Healthier Skin and Healing from Injuries — Without enough rest, your body produces elevated levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Increased inflammation can also harm your skin, worsen skin conditions and reduce your ability to heal.
  • Heart-Healthy — According to the National Sleep Foundation, people who don’t get at least six hours nightly may have double the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
  • Benefits Your Brain — As you doze, your memory, brain’s processing capabilities, and your mental health all get a boost. Sleep deprivation is linked to depression and you might not perform as well on mental tasks if you’re tired.
  • Supports Weight Loss and Maintenance — Being chronically tired can lead to weight gain and make safe weight loss more difficult. If you’re trying to stay at or reach a healthy weight, be sure you’re getting the sleep you need.

How’s Your Sleep: Is Something Wrong?

Sleep FactsIf you’re feeling excessively tired, ask yourself some of these questions. You may need to see your healthcare provider. Most people need somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. If your sleep patterns differ, you may need to visit a doctor to rule out a sleep disorder or other serious health condition.

  • Getting enough zzz’s? If you’re sleeping too little (less than seven hours), you may need another hour or two for optimal health.
  • Excessively tired during the day? Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) may afflict as much as one-fifth of America’s population. It may signal an underlying medical condition, so it’s important to get it checked out.
  • Catching yourself taking (yet another) afternoon siesta? It may be a normal part of your circadian rhythm (part of how your body keeps time) that you’re a little tired at 2pm. Or, if you find yourself uncontrollably falling asleep at all the wrong times, this could be a sign of a sleep disorder.
  • Longer than 10 hours every night? If you’re getting too much rest, you may have an underlying health condition. There’s also a link between depression and excessive sleep, so your doctor may need to run some tests to help identify your need for longer sleep.

Get Your Beauty Sleep

If you think you’re struggling with sleep, seeing your healthcare provider is a smart solution. Glacial Ridge Health System offers sleep studies in Glenwood. With overnight observation and testing, our doctors and visiting specialist Dr. Janning, board certified in ENT and Sleep Medicine, can get you the answers you need about your sleep challenges. You may dramatically improve your health and feel better again, so investing in your sleep is well worth the effort.

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