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The Influence of Sleep on Overall Health

Jun-29-2015

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Sleep: more active than passive

Like many, you may view sleep as a passive activity that usually happens when all other important daily tasks are complete. But getting an adequate amount of quality sleep may be just as important to your good health as nutrition and exercise. Our bodies performs essential maintenance while we’re sleeping. That’s why proper rest can affect everything from physical appearance to daily performance and especially overall health, mood and quality of life.

 

Consequences of inadequate sleep

Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep every night, though your required amount differs on an individual basis. When you don’t get enough sleep, it can lead to issues with daily functioning, such as:

  • Decreased productivity and ability to pay attention.
  • Difficulty consolidating and remembering information.
  • Increased risk for motor vehicle accidents.

 

Chronic sleep deprivation can also lead to an increased risk for the following health concerns:

  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease

 

Fluffy pillows, but not fluffy kittens

You can fill your nightly sleep requirement by following a few simple techniques. It’s important to establish a consistent sleep and wake time, even during the weekend. Your bedtime routine should help prepare your mind and body for sleep; good choices include a hot bath or soothing music an hour or so before bedtime. Though regular exercise is important for quality sleep, you should opt for this activity earlier in the day, as late-day exercise can make it difficult to fall asleep. Try to avoid a large meal, as well as alcohol and caffeine, close to bedtime. Your evening meal should happen two to three hours prior to going to bed. It’s best to keep your bedroom dark and cool with comfortable bedding and pillows. Finally, make sure your room is quiet, with no television or computer, and keep all pets out for the night.

 

How does your sleep rate?

If you aren’t able to get a good night’s sleep, you might experience difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently throughout the night, difficulty waking up on time or waking up without a well-rested feeling. You may be able to attribute these issues to life events, stress or jet lag, but they may also be related to chronic pain, digestive problems, other health problems or a sleep disorder.

 

A good night’s sleep is within reach

You should know that everyone can take steps to get a good night’s sleep! If you feel you aren’t sleeping well, it’s important to talk with your doctor and discuss your symptoms. Together, you’ll be able to reach a treatment option that works for you.

 

Meritain Health supports wellness

You can help your members achieve and maintain wellness, and Meritain Health can help. Your Healthy Merits wellness plan from Meritain Health can include best-in-class vendors, for services such as biometric screenings, tobacco cessation support, weight loss assistance and more. Additionally, you can add on-site seminars and other wellness activities covering a wide range of health topics.

 

For more information about all the programs and services available as part of a Meritain Health benefits plan, simply contact your Meritain Health representative.