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Good Night, Sleep Tight

Getting enough sleep is important for your overall healthIf you only dream about getting the recommended seven hours of sleep each night, you’re not alone. But, skimping on shut-eye can hurt your health. Find out why sleep is important and how to set a date with Mr. Sandman.

You probably have a million reasons why you have a tough time going to bed at a decent time. Maybe you do your best work late at night. Perhaps the only time you can binge watch your favorite Netflix show without interruption is after the kids go to bed. Or, maybe it’s the only “me” time in your day.

The occasional late night (or two) is no big deal. It’s pretty easy to play catch up. But, if you’re clocking six hours of sleep or less on a regular basis, you increase your risk for:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Low sex drive
  • Stroke
  • Weakened immune system
  • Weight gain
  • Wrinkles

“Sleep is restorative,” says Dr. Ancy, Club W’s medical director. “Your body needs time to rest and recharge itself. Sleep helps heal and repair your heart and blood vessels. Plus, your brain forms new pathways and processes information while you sleep.”

Healthy Sleep Habits

Try these tips to get back on track:

  • Create a sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. Consider setting an alarm to remind you it’s time to turn in.
  • Exercise. The National Sleep Foundation says as little as 10 minutes a day of walking, biking or other aerobic exercise can improve your sleep.
  • Power down. Turn off all screens at least one hour before your bedtime. Those work emails and Pinterest pins can wait until tomorrow.
  • Relax. Read a book, take a bath, practice yoga or meditate before bed.
  • Stay cool. Keep your bedroom between 60°F-67°F when you sleep.

If you faithfully follow these tips for a few weeks and still struggle with getting a good night’s rest, you may have a sleep disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnea. The sleep medicine doctors at North Kansas City Hospital’s Diagnostic Sleep Center can test for and treat more than 20 disorders.