Do you check your Facebook page and play Words with Friends before turning in at night? Maybe your phone moonlights as an alarm, drawing you from your slumber?
Living in a digital society has its perks. We can multitask, check our mail, read the paper and share our kids’ accomplishments at all hours. But when it comes to a good night’s sleep, there is no app for that.
“Sleep is not an option,” said Dr. Francis Dayrit, of Lexington Sleep Solutions. “The brain is like a lone shark, it will get sleep any way it can.”
Most people need eight hours of sleep, a number that fluctuates depending on the person. Quality is just as important as quantity. Today, smart phones and tablets that are set to alert the very moment anything happens constantly interrupt us. If these items are in our bedroom, surely they are disrupting our slumber.
Dr. Francis Dayrit
“A person at 60 years old would have slept 20 years of their life and if they are not sleeping well then they have had 20 years of bad sleep. This has a major impact on the quality of life,” said Dr. Dayrit.
Some sleep issues are simple and can be remedied by making small changes to everyday habits. The physicians at Lexington Sleep Solutions are able to provide a more comprehensive evaluation for sleep issues that are multi-factorial, such as airway obstruction, breathing problems, drug side effects and interactions. Frequent waking, snoring, daytime or constant sleepiness and even the uncontrollable urge to move your legs may be a signs of an underlying sleep disorder.
While sleepiness and fatigue are the most common issues associated with poor sleep, the more severe side effects include hypertension, heart disease and even stroke. So what can we do to ensure proper rest on a nightly basis? “Humans are creatures of habit, sticking to a routine is critical,” said Dr. Dayrit.
It is more important to wake up at the same time each morning than to head to bed at the same time each night. We should listen to our brains when it says we are tired. When sleepiness is physiological, naps can be helpful. Naps should not be any longer than 15-30 minutes. Also, it helps to stay away from caffeine at least eight hours before bedtime.
As for all those staying plugged into the electronics that go “ping” in the night — keep TVs out of the bedroom, turn tablets off and charge phones in a place that is out of ears’ reach. This can help the quality of your sleep.