Less Sleep, More Problems

Insufficient sleep may pose several health risks

(RxWiki News) Health officials have declared lack of sleep a public health problem.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), not only is shorter sleep possibly linked to obesity, it has also been linked to a higher risk of death.

Short sleep duration is defined as less than seven hours of sleep per 24-hour period. According to data published by the CDC, adults who were short sleepers were more likely to report 10 chronic health conditions when compared to those who slept more than seven hours per night.

These health conditions included heart attack, heart disease, stroke, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer, arthritis, depression, chronic kidney disease and diabetes.

Read on for more information and some easy tips to improve your sleep.

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia, a common sleep disorder, involves having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or both. Some of the symptoms include the following:

  • Lying awake for a long period of time before you fall asleep
  • Being able to sleep for only a short period
  • Lying awake for most of the night
  • Feeling as if you have not slept when you wake up
  • Waking up too early

If you are having trouble sleeping, focus on sleep hygiene, the promotion of regular sleep.

Sleep Hygiene Tips

  • Develop and follow a routine that helps you wind down and feel relaxed before your bedtime.
  • Avoid substances that may worsen insomnia. These include caffeine, tobacco, stimulants and even some over-the-counter medications. Even alcohol can result in a lighter sleep than normal and cause you to wake up during the night.
  • Avoid exercising right before bed. Instead, try to schedule your daily exercise at least five to six hours before bed.
  • Avoid eating heavy meals or drinking a lot of fluids before going to bed.
  • Transform your bedroom into a sleep-friendly zone.
    • Avoid bright lights.
    • Limit possible distractions, such as a TV or computer.
    • Ensure the temperature of your bedroom is cool and comfortable.
    • Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet.
  • Try to wake up around the same time each morning and go to sleep around the same time each night, including on the weekend.
  • Avoid night shifts, alternating schedules or other issues that may cause a disruption in your sleep schedule, if possible.

If you are having trouble sleeping, speak to your health care provider. Your health care provider will determine the best course of action for you. Treatments may include lifestyle changes, counseling and medications.

Written by Anyssa Garza, PharmD, BCMAS