Why It's Important to Get Your Zzz's
Your nightly 40 winks are critical for maintaining your health. In the midst of a busy life, it can seem tempting to cut into your sleep time, but it’s not a good idea. Sometimes, however, a sleep disorder can create a problem. Sleep hygiene strategies may be helpful, but if not, it’s time to consult your doctor. Here are some basics on sleep disorders, courtesy of PrimeCare Urgent Care in Cumming, Georgia.
Why Sleep Matters
Sleep is critical for both your brain and body to function properly. Lack of sleep can affect your ability to think as well as your emotions, reaction times, balance and judgment. Impaired sleep may decrease your immunity to infectious diseases or cause mood swings. People who are chronically short of sleep have a higher risk of accidents, heart disease, stroke, hormone malfunctions and obesity. Most people need a minimum of seven hours of sleep at night and some need as much as nine hours a night. Children and teens need more sleep than adults.
A sleep disorder is any condition that affects your ability to get a restful night’s sleep. Common sleep disorders include:
- Chronic insomnia – you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Caffeine, alcohol and nicotine can be factors, as can stress.
- Sleep apnea – disturbed breathing patterns during sleep. You may actually stop breathing for short periods, causing you to awaken repeatedly during the night.
- Restless legs syndrome – also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, this condition makes your legs feel uncomfortable and gives you a strong urge to move your legs when trying to fall asleep.
- Narcolepsy – a neurological syndrome that causes you to suddenly fall asleep during the day.
If you have trouble sleeping, start with these home care strategies. The room in which you sleep should be cool, dark and quiet. Use light-blocking shades or curtains and set the thermostat no higher than 64 degrees. A small fan can create “white noise” that covers other possibly disruptive sounds. Minimize or entirely eliminate the use of caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. Keep the lights low after sunset. Avoid the use of cell phones, computers or the television for at least two hours prior to bedtime. The light from these electronic devices affects the brain. Read or play soothing music instead. A healthy diet and regular exercise can also help you sleep better.
Common symptoms of sleep disorders include daytime sleepiness, yawning and irritability. You may also notice unexplained weight gain or an increased susceptibility to colds and flu. If you continue to have sleep difficulties after a few months of using the techniques above, contact PrimeCare Urgent Care. Located in Cumming, Georgia, we offer primary health care as well as urgent care. Our professional staff can assess your condition and make recommendations for treatment. Call us at 770-292-9982 to schedule an appointment or just walk in between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. We are located at 2021 Market Place Blvd, Cumming, GA.