Become aware of your sleep patterns and habits during Sleep Awareness Week

(Source: Pixabay)
(Source: Pixabay)
Updated: Mar. 11, 2019 at 6:17 AM EDT
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(WECT) - Sleep is an important part of our health and can even impact other parts of our lives if we’re not getting enough.

March 10-16 is Sleep Awareness Week. It’s a week to highlight the importance of good sleep health.

For adults, a good night sleep is between 7 and 8 hours each night.

Dr. Sasidharan Taravath is the medical director of the Sleep Disorders, Epilepsy Monitoring Unit & Pediatric Neurodiagnostics Program at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. He says a common problem his patients see him for are a lack of sleep, not sleeping well, or experiencing sleepiness throughout the day.

“If you look at insomnia, it’s become a big problem in America,” says Dr. Taravath. “It seems to be 37%-40% of people one time or another can’t go to sleep or maintain their sleep.”

He says a big factor of that is technology. We rely on our smartphones, tablets, and televisions to help us sleep and that ultimately affects us. Dr. Taravath also says odd work shifts cut into sleep.

“Sleep has become secondary to most people which is very sad because I think that sleep is extremely important in maintaining your health,” Dr. Taravath tells WECT.

Not getting a good night’s sleep or enough sleep can do the following:

  • cause poor performance at work
  • lead to bad eating habits, which can lead to weight gain
  • result in laziness
  • impact personal relationships
  • even make you age faster

Dr. Taravath says having a good schedule and sleep hygiene can help improve your sleep habits and overall quality of life.

“Learn some relaxation strategies and sometimes meditation helps,” says Dr. Taravath. “Exercise certainly helps in getting a good sleep.”

When it comes to napping as an adult, Dr. Taravath says after pre-school age, you shouldn’t take naps that last longer than 20 mins. The American Sleep Association did a study on napping and its benefits.

“Once you nap for about two hours, it takes away the sleep drive which makes us go to sleep at night,” Dr. Taravath tells WECT. “That is taken away if you nap longer than 20 minutes.”

For those who work 3rd shift and napping seems ideal, Dr. Taravath suggests still sleeping at least seven hours in a dark, quiet room while still working to have a good routine and sleep hygiene.

“People have started to realize the importance of sleep and the impact of sleep on health,” says Dr. Taravath. “I think the sooner they realize and the sooner we work on it, would be better for us.”

For more on how to get a good night’s sleep, check out this article.

For more on Sleep Awareness Week, visit the National Sleep Foundation’s website.

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