Page 6 - Senior Times South Central Michigan February 2021 - 28-02
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Page 6 Senior Times - February 2021
 SLEEP YOUR WAY TO BETTER HEALTH TONIGHT
By: Glin Winsor, Practice Manager, DayOne Family Healthcare
  You are probably used to hearing that eating right and exercising regularly are the keys to maintaining good health.
body to the time of day. Exposure to light in the evening delays the release of melatonin and fools your internal clock into thinking it’s earlier than it actually is, preventing
to bed on a full stomach can make it more likely that stomach acid will back up into your esophagus and cause nighttime heart- burn. Stop all food and beverage (with the exception of water) within three hours of bedtime.
You may also know that decreasing stress levels can improve well-being.
you from feeling sleepy until later. What’s worse, while any sort of light can suppress melatonin, the blue wavelengths produced by many kinds of energy-efficient light bulbs and electronic screens, like TVs, computers, smartphones and tablets, slow the release of melatonin with particular effectiveness.
But sleep is a piece of the health puz- zle that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.
Laugh in the Evening – When under stress, the body releases stress hormones like cortisol. Relentless stress can keep cortisol levels high throughout the day, which can suppress sleep.
The next time you delay bedtime in favor of watching the late, late, late show, remember this: Chronic sleep loss can contribute to health problems such as weight gain, high blood pressure, car- diovascular disease, lung disease, cancer, depression, and impaired immunity.
Get Sunlight During the Day – While artificial light in the evening can inhibit sleep, natural light during the day encourages a healthy sleep-wake cycle. Exposing your- self to natural light upon waking can shift your internal clock so that you naturally start waking up earlier.
   Nearly 20 percent of all serious motor vehicle accident injuries can be attributed to drowsy driving. Bed should be looking a lot more appealing by now.
Have trouble falling or staying asleep? These 12 tips will help you drift off more easily into dreamland – and stay there all night long.
While there are many relaxation tech- niques that can help lower cortisol in the evening and court sleep, laughter may be the best medicine. Laughter significantly lowers cortisol levels and returns the body to a more relaxed state.
  Go to Bed When You are Tired – Many people are naturally tired earlier in the eve- ning, but they feel like they have not had any time to themselves and do not want to go to bed. But pushing through evening grogginess often results in a second wind and before you know it, it is midnight, and you have to get up in six hours.
No TV or Tablets in the Bedroom – In a media- and tech-obsessed world, this may be easier said than done: Try to limit your bedroom activities to sleep and sex only, and keep computers, TVs, tablets, and work materials out of the room. This can help strengthen the mental association between your bedroom with sleep. It also helps you avoid the sleep suppressing blue light your TV and other electronics emit.
Curb Caffeine in the Afternoon, Nix the nightcap – caffeine typically stays in your system for four to six hours, so cut yourself off in the early afternoon. While alcohol can make you drowsy and help you fall asleep,
  Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Create a Cozy Sleep Environment – Transform your bedroom into a tranquil haven. The temperature should be cool. Beware of ambient light and noise. Consider investing in earplugs and heavy curtains, blackout shades or an eye mask. If you’re tossing and turning or waking up stiff and sore, it may be time to purchase a new pil- low or mattress. Keep pets out of the bed – maybe even out of the bedroom.
Don’t Rely on Sleeping Pills – The sci- entific consensus is that popular prescription sleeping pills offer no significant improve- ments in the quality of sleep. The seeming effectiveness of sleeping pills may be due in part to the placebo effect or because some of these sleeping pills cause short-term memory loss that lead people to believe they slept better than they actually did – they don’t remember all the tossing and turning.
– Humans possess an internal 24-hour clock called the circadian rhythm that partly deter- mines the time when people fall asleep and when they wake. Going to bed at the same time every night helps set this clock so that your body expects sleep at a certain time night after night. Similarly, waking up at the same time every morning helps train your body to rise at a particular time, helping curb the daily battle with your alarm clock.
Exercise Regularly, Ideally in the Morning – Exercise at any time of the day helps people sleep better. Some experts rec- ommend no exercise before bed, but there is little evidence that it impairs sleep. However, working out in the morning has the advan- tage of exposing you to that all-important sunshine, helping you set your circadian rhythm.
Don’t Worry If You Wake Up in the Middle of the Night – Some experts say that sleep broken up into two distinct cycles is more natural and historically prevalent than todays expected seven to eight-hour uninter- rupted stretch. If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep in about 20 minutes, get up and read or listen
to quiet music. And keep the lights dim, as bright light can stimulate your internal clock.
Dim the Lights and Avoid Screens Before Bed – Light also helps set your inter- nal clock. When light hits your eyes, it sup- presses the production of melatonin, a hor- mone that promotes sleep and also alerts the
Avoid Big Meals in the Evening – Going
it disrupts or prevents rapid eye movement (REM) and deep sleep, two distinct stages of sleep when learning and restoration occurs. Instead, you remain in a light stage of sleep where you can be easily woken up.
      EVERYTHING
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