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    Begin With Sleep

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | March 11th, 2018

    Begin With Sleep

    One of the features that I love on my smart phone is the “do not disturb” feature. Although we are told not to bring the smart phone to our bedroom, most of us do. I use my phone as an alarm. I also use it as a timer for my meditation practice. I love my sleep and unfortunately there are people who have a need to talk after 10:00 PM. I am not one of them. I want my 7 hours of sleep and so I have my “do not disturb” feature on so that I am not disturbed between 9:30 PM – 6:00 AM.  I know emergencies can arise during that time, so I have a select few that can call at those times, but they know that it had better be a true emergency or they will be kicked out of the select few. The only exception is when I am on call.

    Sleep is important for our physical, mental and emotional well-being. March 11 – 17, 2018 is Sleep Awareness Week and the theme this year is “Begin with Sleep”. To achieve our personal, family and professional goals, it truly begins with sleep.

    Poor sleep has been associated with high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, depression, car accidents, poor performance at work and the list goes on. What we are learning is that some of the difficulty in managing some chronic diseases may be related to not getting enough sleep. We do not fully understand the mechanism behind this but we do know that lack of sleep can affect the hormones that are released in the body and some of these hormones for example cortisol (the stress hormone) in large amounts can cause inflammation and lead to disease in our bodies. We need our sleep.

    Click here to find out how much sleep you should be getting based on your age. If you are not getting enough sleep, The National Sleep Foundation offers the following tips:

    • Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on weekends.
    • Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual
    • Avoid naps, if you have trouble falling asleep at night
    • Exercise daily
    • Evaluate your room – your bedroom should be cool, free from noise and any light
    • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
    • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening
    • Avoid electronics before bed or in the middle of the night
    • If you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired
    • If you are still having trouble sleeping – do not hesitate to seek help from a sleep professional

    My personal tip – Learn how to use the “do not disturb” function on your phone.


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