Texas A&M Agrilife Extension recognizes National Sleep Awareness Week, encouraging quality sleep as a means of improving general health and well-being.
Increasing focus is being paid to sleep, as a lack of it has been shown to contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of diseases, like heart disease and stroke.
“With regard to our personal wellness, we often hear about the need for a good diet and an active lifestyle”, said Erica Reyes, Program Specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. “Adequate sleep is a third component of a healthy lifestyle that is often overlooked or underemphasized; getting the recommended eight hours is important”, Reyes adds.
Our attempts to reduce weight, maintain peak performance at work, and communicate with others are all dependent on getting enough sleep. Here are three recommended practices to help obtain the rest your body requires to function healthily.
Stick to a schedule: Our brain determines our times for day and night depending on our sleep routine and sleep cycles. When we disrupt those time frames by significantly altering our sleeping patterns for a few days, we might spend the remainder of the week off our schedule.
Limit caffeine intake: Those who consume four or more caffeinated drinks per day are more prone to sleeplessness, so be mindful of coffee, tea, sodas, energy drinks, and their serving sizes.
Exercise: Regular exercise throughout the week may help boost the production of the hormone melatonin, termed the "sleep hormone." Simply ensure that your activity does not take place too close to bedtime, or it may have the opposite effect.
Reyes recommends that health care providers and health care professionals assist by assessing patients’ sleep habits, and discussing the importance of sleep. “It is important to assist in raising awareness by discussing sleep habits and by displaying patient education materials on sleep, sleep hygiene, and specific sleep disorders in waiting and exam rooms.”, Reyes concludes.
For more information about Texas A&M AgriLife Extension health programs, Contact Alexis Cordova, Liberty County Extension Office at (936) 334-3230.