Get healthy with sleep.
By Brandon Allen, PharmD
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, upwards of 30% of Americans don’t get enough sleep.
Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night, but the average American sleeps only 6.8 hours per night, according to a recent poll. Lack of sleep can lead to health problems, cognitive issues, and just makes us all a little crabby.
Why We Don’t Get Enough Sleep
Our current lifestyle factors into this a lot. Little or no exercise, high stress levels and poor nutrition can all wreck our sleep.
Just 10 minutes a day of low-intensity walking can help promote healthy sleep, but unfortunately, most Americans get very little exercise and spend most of their time sitting at a desk or at home.
When your body is under stress, we create a hormone called cortisol. This hormone pumps more glucose into our blood so that we can have quick energy. It ramps up our heart rate and gets our muscles ready to fight or run. This is great when a bear is chasing us, not so great when we have worked eight to 10 hours and are trying to go to sleep that night.
Poor nutrition can lead to sleep problems. Too much sugar and caffeine can make sleep very difficult. Typically, these foods and beverages are not high in nutrients we need to maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
Other factors can be at play here too, but these are the main culprits.
What Happens When We Don’t Sleep
A lack of sleep can lead to low energy, lack of concentration, poor memory, weight gain, and overall poor cellular health.
Getting an appropriate amount of sleep can help improve our memories. Sleep protects new memories from disruption and sleep consolidates memories according to their relative importance and the learner’s expectations for remembering.
It might seem obvious, but the biggest factor affecting concentration is rest. If you aren’t well-rested your mind will be scattered and lethargic.
Adequate sleep can also lead to better muscle and tissue health. Your tissues require additional sleep and recovery time after illness, injury or surgery. In addition, muscular recovery is required after intense exercise, particularly strength and endurance training.
The amount of rest you get each night affects your metabolism. Sleep-deprived individuals have a decreased ability to manage blood sugar levels and also may find themselves hungrier (particularly for high carbohydrate foods).
What You Can Do About It
There are a number of things that you can do to help improve your sleep. Here are a few tips you can try:
- Stick to a schedule, go to bed and wake up at approximately the same time every day.
- Keep your bedroom reserved for sleep and sex, no TV!
- Make sure your bedroom is dark and cool
- Cut out caffeine after noon (look for ways it might sneak in there, tea or soda being the biggest culprits)
Also, at Allen Pharmacy, we compound a great topical product that we just call Sleep Gel. This is an all-natural sleep supplement that helps improve sleep. It contains magnesium and B vitamins that have been shown to improve sleep.
This is a great alternative to prescription sleep aids, with no side effects and no worry of addiction or dependence.
Contact our pharmacy at 940-484-0100 to find out more about our Sleep Gel compound that can help you get more restful sleep and improve your health.