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Happy New Year! Have you made any resolutions yet? As the calendar turns to a fresh page, many of us make a fresh resolve to eat better, do better and be better. But have you ever made a resolution to sleep better? It’s one you may want to consider.
“Many people don’t connect the dots between the quality of their sleep and the quality of their overall health,” says Dr. Syed Murtaza, with Fauquier Health’s Sleep Center. Dr. Murtaza is a diplomat in the American board of Psychology and Neurology as well as board-certified in sleep medicine. “Most adults need at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night to maintain good health.”
Unfortunately, a number of us aren’t quite measuring up. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a third of U.S. adults say they typically get less than the recommended amount of sleep. And a lack of proper sleep doesn’t just make you feel groggy the next morning.
“Besides the feeling of being tired, poor sleeping habits can increase your risk for high blood pressure, elevated stress levels, weight gain, depression, loss of motor skills and poor heart health, and can put you or others in danger when operating motor vehicles or other machinery,” says Dr. Murtaza.
There are a number of things you can do to improve your sleep habits – without having to count sheep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following tips for better sleep:
You might be asking, “What about naps?” A good approach to naps is to ensure that they are in the afternoon and no longer than 20 minutes.
“If you’ve tried different tactics and are still having trouble sleeping, you may be suffering from a sleep disorder,” says Dr. Murtaza. “Left untreated, sleep disorders can be very damaging to a person’s overall health.”
The following four major sleep disorders are common in the U.S., according to the CDC:
“If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a sleep disorder or are having difficulty maintaining good sleep habits in general, it’s important to contact your healthcare provider to determine the best treatment for you,” says Dr. Murtaza. “Sleep disorders can often be treated with prescription medications, behavioral interventions or, in the case of sleep apnea, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices. Over-the-counter medications do exist for sleep, but you should consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking them.”
For more about good sleep habits, visit sleepfoundation.org or cdc.gov/sleep. If you’d like to speak with a healthcare provider about your sleep difficulties, Fauquier Health can help. Call 540.316.DOCS or visit the Find a Provider tab at FauquierHealth.org to get connected with care to help you sleep better.