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    Did You Sleep Well?

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | March 14th, 2021

    Did You Sleep Well?

    I recently asked a friend, “Did you sleep well?” and she gave me a weird look. I then reverted back and said “good morning”. Growing up, it was customary in my household to ask that question as part of your morning greetings. You would answer the question and explain why you did or did not sleep well. It looks like my ancestors knew how important sleep was to overall health.

    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.  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.

    This week is Sleep Awareness Week and the theme this year is “Celebrate Sleep Health”.  One of the ways to achieve optimum health is to get enough sleep.  The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) states that getting enough good sleep has both positive mental and physical effects.  Healthy sleep can support boosting the body’s immune system which can help you prevent or limit infection in your body.  Sleep helps you from getting sick often. Sleep has been shown to improve antibody responses to vaccination. This means getting enough sleep before and after you are vaccinated can help vaccines work in your body.

    The NSF offers the following 5 tips for better sleep:

    1. Set a relaxing bedroom routine – Relaxing activities could include listening to calming music, reading a book or taking a warm bath.
    2. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends. It is important for your body to have a regular sleep schedule.
    3. Exercise regularly. A low-impact fitness program, like walking, swimming or yoga is helpful for improving sleep.
    4. Create a sleep- friendly bedroom –turn off electronic devise an hour before bed and sleep in a cool, dark room. This is where the ‘Do Not Disturb’ button on your cell phone settings becomes very useful.
    5. Try to sleep the recommended number of hours a night for your age group.  The National Sleep Foundation has sleep guidelines. Click here. NSF recommends 7 – 9 hours for adults and 7 – 8 hours for adults over 65.

    I hope when I ask you, “Did you sleep well?” you will not give me a weird look and you will know I am asking because sleep is good for your overall health. If you are not sleeping well and the tips are not working, please seek help from your health care provider.

    2 Responses to “Did You Sleep Well?”

    1. Dayna Hale says:

      You can ask me but I will almost always say I did not. I wish I was good at sleeping

      • Ngozi Osuagwu, MD says:

        Thanks for sharing. I want you to sleep well. I think it is important to follow the steps that are suggested by the National Sleep Foundation.

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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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