Friday, March 15, 2013

March is Sleep Awareness Month

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – Did you know that you can accumulate “sleep debt”? 

Jennifer Davis and Sandy Mosley, Managers of Chambersburg Hospital’s Sleep Centers have provided tips on how we can stay out of “sleep debt”.

According to Davis, adults over the age of 20 who are not getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night are building what sleep professionals call “sleep debt,” also known as sleep deprivation.

“We often think of sleep as a period of rest for our bodies,” Davis said. “But, actually, during sleep our bodies heal, muscles grow and tissue is repaired. Sleep is critical to keep our bodies and minds working.”

Mosley added, “Sleep debt can also cause us to fall asleep while driving or while we are at work. Sleep debt can be very dangerous.”

According to Davis, once you accumulate sleep debt, just sleeping extra hours the next day won’t necessarily “repay” the debt.

“The best way to recover from sleep debt is to have healthy, consistent sleep habits,” she explained.

Davis provided 10 tips to healthier sleep:

  1. Make sure your room is dark, quiet and cool.
  2. Stop eating two to three hours before you sleep.
  3. Make sure you have a comfortable mattress and pillow.
  4. Exercise – but make sure you do this a few hours before you try to sleep.
  5. Keep a routine by waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day. Yes, even on weekends.
  6. Don’t do work, pay bills or watch TV in bed.
  7. Make sure your feet stay warm, because our cold feet can wake us from sleep.
  8. Take a hot bath or shower before bed.
  9. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  10. Listen to white noise or relaxation music.

“You can find more tips at SummitHealth.org/sleep,” Mosley noted. “If you or a loved one is having trouble sleeping, or are experiencing excessive snoring or daytime sleepiness, you should talk to your doctor right away.  Our Chambersburg Hospital Sleep Center’s are available to you for testing. Visit our website for more information.”