Like most people, you undoubtedly have myriad demands on your time. As a result, you probably aren’t getting enough sleep. This is troubling, not only because it can make it more difficult for you to get through each day, but also because insufficient rest can be detrimental to your overall health and well-being. In fact, chronic lack of sleep has been linked to a number of serious health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and certain types of cancer.
Even if you have the very best intentions, it can be difficult to get enough shut-eye. The fact is, the structure of our society is simply not conducive to sleeping. Any number of things can get in the way of a good night’s rest. For instance, you might have a child who routinely “forgets” to tell you about school projects until the evening before they are due, fun-loving neighbors who regularly enjoy loud social gatherings that extend late into the night or an overly enterprising boss who burns the candle at both ends and expects you to keep up. You get the idea, and the end result is the same — a sleep deficit.
You may be wondering exactly how many hours of sleep you need to get each night to help ensure peak performance and optimal health. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. Sleep requirements can vary considerably among individuals due to a number of factors, including genetics, lifestyle and health. Nevertheless, most experts agree that an adult should get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night.
Sometimes, even though you have an opportunity to sleep, you might become frustrated when you have trouble dozing off. To help ensure adequate and restful slumber, the experts at Moffitt Cancer Center offer the following five tips:
1. Maintain a consistent schedule — Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends, vacations and holidays.
2. Create a comfortable and tranquil sleep zone — Draw the shades, dim the lights, turn off all electronic devices and engage in a relaxing ritual that helps you wind down before bed. For instance, some people enjoy the calming effects of reading, writing in a journal, taking a bath, tidying up or preparing for the next day.
3. Watch what you drink and eat — Avoid caffeine after 2 p.m., because its stimulating effects can last up to several hours. Also, do not drink alcoholic beverages or eat heavy meals within two hours of your bed time. Uncomfortable feelings of fullness can keep you awake.
4. Exercise regularly — Physical activity can reduce your stress level and tire you out. In turn, this can improve both the soundness and duration of your sleep.
5. Be protective of your downtime — Make sleep a priority, rather than simply “that thing you do after you finish up everything else.”
If you experience problems that prevent you from sleeping well, such as breathing difficulties, leg cramps or prolonged insomnia, you should consult with a physician for proper diagnosis and treatment. Many sleep issues can be managed and sometimes even cured.
To obtain more information about the link between sleep deprivation and cancer risk, you can arrange to talk with the experts at Moffitt Cancer Center by calling 1-888-663-3488 or completing our new patient registration form online.