May seems to be one of the busiest months of the year. School is winding down, spring sports are starting up, and there’s no shortage of activities each and every weekend. It’s no coincidence that May just so happens to be “Better Sleep Month”. A lot of us all feel that we need to get more sleep, better sleep, or that we are always behind on sleep. I often feel all three of these at the same time. And while we may realize that our sleep patterns are not up to par, rarely do we actually do anything to improve this important aspect of our lives. From my clinical point of view, here’s why that needs to change tonight!
INCREASED BRAIN CAPACITY
Sleep allows our bodies the time to recover from the stress and physical demands we put them through each day. A good night’s rest is essential for our brains to allow us to think more clearly, remain more alert, improve our problem solving abilities, and increase our attention to detail. You know that your body feels better when it’s rested, but don’t forget about your brain!
PREVENT WEIGHT GAIN
Getting the right amount of sleep also allows our hormones to adequately do their jobs. One important hormone can even help keep us from gaining weight. Leptin levels, which help make us feel full after eating, may drop with decreased sleep leading us to eat more and as a result, possibly gain weight. With adequate sleep, leptin levels remain in their proper range, helping us to stave off high calorie cravings and keep that pesky weight down!
STRENGTHEN IMMUNE SYSTEM
With spring comes pollen and colds, but sleep can help prevent this too. While more information is needed on the subject, some research has shown that those who are able to get adequate sleep have stronger immunities and are less likely to get sick than individuals who are constantly sleep deprived. We know you don’t have time to be sick!We at Wellview Health want you to have a holistic sense of well-being. These are just a few of the many examples of the benefits of sleep and what it can do, not only for our bodies, but our minds as well. I am making it a point to try and improve my sleep patterns and to get enough sleep, and I hope that you will try to as well. Today’s fast paced schedule can be very demanding, and it’s no secret that life often gets in the way of even our best health intentions. It’s not always easy changing your behavior, but try going to bed just a few minutes earlier tonight - every little bit helps!- Ryan Henderson MSN, APRN, ACNP-BC Director of Clinical Services