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Sleep Resources

Sleep

To fit in everything we want to do in our day, we often sacrifice sleep. But sleep affects both mental and physical health. It’s vital to your well-being. When you’re tired, you can’t function at your best. Sleep helps you think more clearly, have quicker reflexes and focus better.

Importance of quality sleep:

  • Improves memory and controls brain functioning
  • Controls body temperature and metabolism
  • Keeps heart and blood vessels healthy
  • Regulates appetite and weight by controlling blood glucose levels
  • Can reduce/relieve pain

Short or insufficient sleep:

  • < 7 hours of sleep per day
  • 36.2 % of Virginia adults reported short sleep
  • Short sleep is more common in the southeastern United States and the Appalachian Mountains.

Sleep requirements by age:

  • Newborns (0-3 mos): 14-17 hours
  • Infants (4-11 mos): 12-15 hours
  • Toddlers (1-2 yrs): 11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5 yrs): 10-13 hours
  • 6-13 yrs: 9-11 hours
  • 14-17 yrs: 8-10 hours
  • 18-25 yrs: 7-9 hours
  • 26-64 yrs: 7-9 hours
  • Greater than 65 yrs: 7-8 hours

Sleep Resources and Information:

  • Most common sleep disorder
  • Defined as inability to initiate or maintain sleep. May also be early morning awakening.
  • Potentially serious sleep disorder
  • Causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep
  • Throat muscles relax and block your airway during sleep
  • Noticeable sign is snoring
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (including episodes of irresistible sleepiness) combined with sudden muscle weakness are the hallmark signs.
  • Characterized by an unpleasant “creeping” sensation, often feeling like it is originating in the lower legs
  • Often associated with aches and pains throughout the legs
  • This often causes difficulty initiating sleep and is relieved by movement of the leg, such as walking or kicking.
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness, tiredness, and lethargy
  • Morning headaches
  • Poor memory, difficulty focusing
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Chronic health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease
  • An increased risk of alcohol and drug dependence
  • Having a car accident, work accident
  • Making mistakes at work
  • Relationship problems
  • Stick to a sleep schedule
  • Create a pre-sleep routine to include specific mental tactics to calm the mind
  • Avoid large meals, heavy and spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime
  • Avoid nicotine
  • Create a restful environment
  • Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smart phones, from the bedroom
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine

To learn more about Healthy Sleep, read, “Healthy Sleep at a Glance” from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

If you are having difficulty sleeping, a good first step is to start keeping a sleep diary.