February 25, 2019
IMPROVE YOUR SNOOZE
ThedaCare Physician Discusses Benefits of Sleeping Well
SHAWANO, Wis. – Good sleep strongly influences good health. It’s a time when our body rests, rejuvenates and regulates hormone levels that affect many important systems in our bodies. Studies have shown serious health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety, depression, obesity, strokes and heart attacks can be linked to poor sleep.
“The health problems associated with poor sleep are why achieving good sleep hygiene, or a consistent rhythm of quality sleep, is so important,” said Nina Quicksell, DO, a family medicine physician at ThedaCare Physicians-Shawano.
If you encounter problems, Dr. Quicksell recommends several ways to help improve your sleep habits.
First, establish a sleep routine and follow your schedule for two full weeks before judging its success. This means setting a consistent bedtime, bedtime routine, and waking time. “Catching up” on sleep on the weekend can actually hurt your efforts, so stick to the schedule every day of the week.
Do not engage in exercise up to two hours before bedtime, as the endorphins you release during exercise will keep you awake. Try a calming phone app that accompanies you through an evening bedtime story or meditation; they are proven effective at relaxing your mind. Plus, who doesn’t like a bedtime story? They’re not just for kids.
Screen time, the use of television, tablets, computers and phones, all stimulate the brain, and the blue light from the screens themselves interferes with a person’s sleep cycle. Discontinue screen time at least one hour before bed. If you have a television in your bedroom, move it to a different room. Also, dim the lights in your bedroom, and if you use a nightlight, keep it as dim as possible.
“Avoid caffeine up for up to four hours before bedtime, but you can enjoy a warm, non-caffeinated drink before bed,” said Dr. Quicksell. “It will signal your body and mind to relax.”
Teens and pre-teens especially need good quality, uninterrupted sleep. Sleep regulates growth and hormone levels—two very important ongoing changes at this stage of their lives. Phones should be completely turned off at bedtime and put outside their bedrooms to help ensure a good night’s rest, free of middle-of-the-night texts and posts.
“The amount of sleep that you need will fluctuate over your lifetime, but the need for enough rejuvenating sleep never fades,” explained Dr. Quicksell.
Infants and toddlers require nine to 10 hours of sleep a day, plus two to three hours of naps. School-age children need nine to 11 hours per day. Adults need seven to eight hours. The phrase “sleep to grow” is indeed accurate. Young people secrete their growth hormones especially during deep sleep. Dr. Quicksell observed older adults may stay in bed longer because their waking cycles are more frequent and they need more time to achieve the same amount of sleep as younger, more consistent sleepers.
“Sleep problems are readily treatable,” Dr. Quicksell said. “It’s proven that sleep is just as important to your daily function, well-being, and longevity as good nutrition and physical activity.”
For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization serves a community of more than 600,000 residents and employs more than 6,700 healthcare professionals throughout the regions. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 31 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care.
ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service. For more information, visit www.thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter. Media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public Relations Specialist at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.