During the month of May, healthcare professionals recognize the importance of something we’d all like a little bit more of – sleep. For National Better Sleep Month, health expert Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, director of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital, reminds us how sleep is important to our overall health. 

Why does sleep matter in terms of our health?

Nurse Rose: Getting adequate sleep is critical to good health and well-being for a number of reasons.

  • Healthy brain function and emotional well-being. Sleep helps your brain to form permanent memories and can improve your ability to focus and learn.
  • Heart health. Lack of sleep is linked to a higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.
  • Healthy weight. Sleep helps regulate the hormones in your body that make you feel hungry.
  • Safety and performance. Sleeping well helps you focus and avoid mistakes or accidents that might occur with lack of sleep.

How much sleep do we need?

Nurse Rose: The amount of sleep you need varies with age. Most adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep per night, while teens need about eight to 10 hours per night. Kids on the other hand need about nine to 13 hours of sleep per night, while infants and toddlers may sleep anywhere from 11 to 15 hours a day depending on their age.

What are some ways to help people sleep better?

Nurse Rose: Here are some tips to help you get enough sleep to stay healthy and conquer your day.

  • Keep a schedule. Set a bedtime, and try to wake up and go to sleep around the same time each day.
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Whether it’s reading, meditation or prayer – try to unwind away from your electronic devices.
  • Avoid backlit screens and bright lights before bed. Turn off electronic devices 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Keep your room cool and dark. Doctors recommend 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Exercise daily but not too close to when you go to sleep.
  • Avoid large meals, alcohol or caffeine before bed. If you must eat before bedtime, eat a light, healthy snack.

Are you having trouble sleeping? Take our sleep disorders quiz to see if Adventist HealthCare’s Sleep Services can help you sleep better.

ADDITIONAL HEALTH TIPS FROM ROSE

Find more family health tips online or tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to hear Rose live.