Improve sleep quality by improving sleep hygiene.
You may wonder why Sleep Awareness needs its own week. After all, we’re all pretty aware of how well or poorly we’re sleeping. But the impact of sleep on our health and wellness cannot be underestimated.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sleeping fewer than seven hours per night is linked to several chronic conditions, including heart disease, stroke, depression, type 2 diabetes and asthma. Other studies blame lack of sleep on everything from acne to obesity. It’s important stuff!
Are you getting enough sleep?
The amount of sleep you need depends on what you do and how you feel. To put it simply, you need as many hours of sleep as required for you to feel rested and alert.
Sleep is an integral part of your circadian rhythm, your body’s 24-hour clock. If you’re a night owl or a morning person, that’s your circadian rhythm at play. When you disrupt your body’s clock, you feel a more pronounced swing in how sleepy or alert you are.
Improving your sleep hygiene
As important as the amount of sleep is the quality of sleep. If you still feel tired after logging your typical hours, your sleep may be disrupted. The best approach to improve your sleep quality is to improve your sleep hygiene.
The first step in improving your sleep is consistency. Remember, we’re dealing with your body’s rhythms.This means trying to go to sleep and wake up at around the same times every day — including weekends.
Next, address your sleep environment. Keep where you sleep dark, quiet and at a comfortable temperature. As tempting as it is to have the television lull you to sleep or your phone keep you company as you try to doze, the lights from your electronic devices can disrupt how you sleep.
Your behavior also can impact your sleep quality. Avoid large meals, alcohol and nicotine before bed — regular exercise can help you fall asleep more easily. You should also take steps to manage stress in your life. Easier said than done, of course, but it’s an important factor to your sleep quality.
Understanding sleep disorders
If after improving your sleep hygiene you still feel sleep deprived, you may have a sleep disorder. Common sleep disorders include:
- Insomnia: Difficulty falling or staying asleep for the duration of the night
- Sleep apnea: Disruptions in breathing patterns during sleep
- Narcolepsy: Excessive daytime sleepiness and suddenly falling asleep during regular activity
- Restless Leg Syndrome: A sleep movement disorder characterized by discomfort and the urge to move your legs when falling asleep
Doctors and healthcare professionals treat these sleep disorders through both helping patients adjust their behavior and prescribing medication. If your doctor determines that medication should be part of your sleep health approach, check Blink Health before filling to see if you can save money on your script. Common medications for sleep disorders include:
- Zolpidem: Known by brand names Ambien and Intermezzo, zolpidem is a non-benzodiazepine used for the short-term treatment of insomnia.
- Eszopiclone: Sold under the brand name Lunesta, eszopiclone is a sedative-hypnotic formulated to help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and lessen how often you wake during the night.
- Modafinil: Modafinil is a stimulant that reduces extreme sleepiness due to narcolepsy and other sleep disorders, such as periods of stopped breathing during sleep (obstructive sleep apnea). Brand names include Provigil.
This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.
Blink Health is not insurance. The discount prescription drug provider is Blink Health Administration, LLC, 233 Spring Street, 8th Floor East, New York, NY 10013, (844) 366–2211, www.blinkhealth.com