Living well Your Health & Wellness

You likely need more sleep than you think

Written by Diane Archer

As we age, we experience changes in sleep patterns. You might think you can get by with five or six hours of sleep every night.  Believe it or not though, adults need between seven and eight hours a night of sleep.  Sleep benefits both your mental and physical well-being.

According to sleep expert and NIH neuroscientist, Merrill Mitler, “Sleep services all aspects of our body in one way or another: molecular, energy balance, as well as intellectual function, alertness and mood.” A good night’s sleep also improves your reflexes and overall ability to think clearly.  An hour or two less than you need makes a difference in your level of reasoning, attention to detail, productivity and more.

Dr, Michael Twery, another NIH sleep expert, explains: “Sleep affects almost every tissue in our bodies. It affects growth and stress hormones, our immune system, appetite, breathing, blood pressure and cardiovascular health.”

As many as 70 million adults in America suffer from chronic sleep problems and do not get the sleep they need.  Many people have insomnia and lay in bed awake a good chunk of the night.And, many people have sleep apnea, which keeps them from sleeping soundly.  Sleep apnea causes you to have a loud, uneven snore.  And you may wake up gasping for air. Apnea can be dangerous, causing you to stop breathing for short periods and your blood pressure to spike.  You are at higher risk of stroke.

Talk to your doctor if you have insomnia or the apnea symptoms.  Sometimes, exercising, losing weight or sleeping on your side can reduce apnea symptoms.  Do your best to get a good night’s sleep.  It matters!

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  • One of the biggest foratcs for many is stress, no matter who you are your outlook on life tells it all.Another is and always will be poor diet, healthy eating and regular everyday exercise will always make the difference between living badly and living well.

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