Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Getting Your Sleep Number Just Right

Sleep is vitally important for physical and mental well-being. Getting enough sleep but not too much was the focus of a new study from the Seoul National University College of Medicine. The largest study of its kind, researchers followed the sleeping habits of 133,608 men and women aged 40-69 years for 9 years.

The results of the study showed people who slept less than 6 hours were more likely to have a higher waist circumference and more likely to have metabolic syndrome. Sleeping more than 10 hours was also associated with metabolic syndrome, higher triglycerides, lower good cholesterol, higher blood sugar, and higher waist circumference.

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of at least 3 of 5 medical conditions: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, and low good cholesterol that increase cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk.

Previous studies have indicated sleeping less than 7 hours per day can interfere with hormones that regulate appetite and metabolism. An elevation in these hormones can lead to greater calorie intake as well as reduced energy expenditure which might lead to a larger waist circumference and obesity.

Improving sleep starts with a good routine. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and stimulants 4-6 hours before bedtime. Eat dinner earlier, allowing at least 3 hours to digest food before bed. Limit blue-light exposure from TVs, smartphones and tablets. Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool. And if you continue to struggle with sleep consult your physician or sleep specialist to rule out sleep disorders.

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