For people who are always on the go, a good night’s sleep may feel like a low priority—but it’s not. Sleep is essential to the health of your body and brain. You may have noticed that lack of sleep affects your mood and energy level, but it can have more serious repercussions as well. According to the National Institutes of Health, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and obesity. Your immune system needs deep sleep to help you fight common infections.
As people age, they become more likely to experience insomnia. As Jane E. Brody writes in the New York TImes today, “A survey done in 1995 by researchers at the National Institute on Aging among more than 9,000 people aged 65 and older living in three communities revealed that 28 percent had problems falling asleep and 42 percent reported difficulty with both falling asleep and staying asleep. The numbers affected are likely to be much larger now that millions spend their pre-sleep hours looking at electronic screens that can disrupt the body’s biological rhythms.”
Worried that you’re not getting enough sleep? First of all, try not to stress about it, because that could make it even harder for you to fall asleep. Your sleep problems have a solution. If you only struggle to fall asleep once in a while, this list of tips from Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine may be enough to help you get on a better sleep schedule. If you regularly have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, consider making an appointment with a sleep specialist. While sleep medicine is a relatively new field, Better Health Advisors can connect you with a board-certified doctor and help you figure out the best way to move forward.
You may need a sleep study. Sleep studies, which usually involve spending the night in a sleep lap, monitor data about your body to analyze how well you’re sleeping. They can help diagnose sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, an extreme form of snoring in which your airway becomes blocked, causing you to wake up during the night. If you have a sleep disorder, Better Health Advisors will make sure you receive the best available treatment, while also maximizing your health insurance benefits.