How much sleep is enough? According to the National Sleep Foundation, newborns typically need between 12 to 16 hours a day. School-age children require between 10 and 11, teenagers need a little over nine, and adults should average seven to nine hours. Not getting enough sleep can have negative effects on your health in both the short and long term.
To help raise awareness of the importance of good sleep habits, The Sleep Center at Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake will recognize March 5 to 11 as National Sleep Awareness Week. An on-line screening quiz is available on the hospital’s website at www.DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/SleepQuiz to learn more about how to get a good night’s rest, snoring, and sleep quality. For an informative overview on why sleep is important, facts about sleep disorders, and help for sleep problems visit www.DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/Sleep.
“There are more than 80 documented sleep disorders, such as jet lag, insomnia, sleep apnea and sleepwalking,” says Raghavendra Krishnamurthy, M.D., medical director at The Sleep Center and pulmonary medicine physician on the medical staff at Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake. “Other people may have poor sleep habits that prevent them from getting a good night’s rest, such as staying up too late or getting up too early. But regardless of the cause, inadequate sleep can harm your health, contribute to poor school or work performance, and increase the risk of injury. In the short term, sleep deprivation can cause abbreviated attention spans and poor concentration, impaired memory and cognitive ability, increased risk of occupational injury, and higher risk of automobile injury.”
Most disorders that cause poor sleep or sleep deprivation can be diagnosed and treated. However, if sleep problems continue, they can cause numerous, serious medical illnesses, including high blood pressure, heart attack and heart failure, stroke, obesity, depression, attention deficit disorder, mental impairment, growth retardation for fetuses and children, and poor quality of life.
If you have a sleep disorder, you are not alone. Approximately 40 million Americans suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders annually and another 20 million experience occasional sleep problems. Dr. Krishnamurthy offers the following tips to get a better night’s rest and improve your sleep.
• Go to bed only if you are sleepy.
• Get out of bed if you cannot fall asleep in about 20 minutes.
• Have a pre-sleep ritual that can help you relax.
• Go to bed and get up at approximately the same time every day.
• Avoid smoking, alcohol, caffeine and heavy, spicy and sugary foods before bedtime.
• Exercise on a regular basis (but not right before going to bed).
• Make your sleeping area quiet, dark and a little cool.
• Try not to take sleeping pills, or use them with caution.
• Avoid daytime naps if possible.
• Have a small snack before bed so you do not go to bed hungry.
“Factors that can interrupt sleep include physical problems such as arthritis or acid reflux, psychological issues including stress and depression, or certain medications that have a side effect of sleeplessness,” adds Dr. Krishnamurthy. “You should talk with your doctor if you find that your sleeping problem persists, occurs more than three nights per week for longer than one month, or you have other symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath.”
The Sleep Center at Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake provides treatment designed to alleviate or prevent sleep disorders and help sufferers enjoy a good night’s rest. The specially trained team offers expert evaluation and individualized treatment in a technologically advanced sleep laboratory. Care is coordinated with each patient’s primary care physician. For more information about The Sleep Center, visit www.DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/TheSleepCenter.