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The Importance of Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

February 24, 2021

More people are experiencing sleep disturbances and difficulties than ever before. Sleep medicine specialist Nancy Stewart, DO, shares the importance of sleep, how the COVID-19 pandemic and sleep disorders can impact sleep and tips for getting a better night’s sleep.

  • Sleep is important because it helps restore the body. A good night’s sleep can give you more energy, improve your memory, regulate your metabolism and reduce mental fatigue.

  • The stress of the COVID-19 pandemic is a contributing factor to sleep disturbances. More people are experiencing anxiety, which can greatly impact sleep.

  • Sleep and mental health are very closely related. For example, if you’re experiencing insomnia, you probably have some underlying level of anxiety or depression. Once we address anxiety or depression, then we can work on a treatment plan for insomnia.

  • Going to bed with a headache is most likely related to stress. If you wake up with a headache, it can also be related to stress or sleep apnea, a very common, serious sleep disorder. About 90% of people have undiagnosed sleep apnea.

  • The main sign of sleep apnea is snoring. Choking and gasping during sleep are also symptoms of sleep apnea. Age, body mass index (BMI) and obesity can contribute to someone’s risk of developing sleep apnea. It is more common in men than women.

  • Yes. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate your sleep. It can also be used as a medication to help regulate sleep. Because it is considered a dietary supplement, it is not tightly regulated by the FDA. I would suggest to anyone interested in taking melatonin they speak to their primary doctor or sleep doctor beforehand.

  • Meditation is a great tool because it helps calm the mind. You can meditate before bed or even first thing in the morning. I recommend that people avoid drinking alcohol before bed and avoid using electronics 2 hours before going to bed. It is also important to keep a consistent wake time 7 days a week to help your body regulate its sleep pattern.

Learn more about sleep medicine and treatment for sleep disorders.

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