4 Must-Know Sleep Practices for 2022

Sleep Awareness Week is next week from March 13th– 19th. The National Sleep Foundation created this week to reemphasize the importance of the connection of sleep and health. Their theme this year is “Best Slept Self”.

The Chapters Health system has outlined some sleep practices for you to start implementing and achieving the best quality sleep:1

#1: Have a Bedtime Routine

It’s important to have a bedtime routine, so your body recognizes that you are starting to wind down and you can peacefully drift off into a sleep.

What might this look like?

  • Take a warm bath or shower with calming soap scents.
  • Write out any current worries that you may have in a list form and decide to deal with them the next day.
  • Listen to meditating music.

#2: Watch What You Eat and Drink

Eating heavy before bed can hinder sleep. When you consume a heavy meal towards the end of your day, your stomach and intestines must start working on digesting it which can take multiple hours. You should also avoid fatty, acidic, and spicy foods that can irritate the stomach and cause heart burn.

So, what if you are craving a late-night snack, what can you eat before bed? The Huffington Post asked nutritionists to provide some of their top picks which are as follows:

  • Banana
    • Contains potassium and tryptophan. Potassium is a natural muscle relaxant which helps with sleep. Tryptophan helps make melatonin and serotonin which is necessary for the sleep cycle.
  • Rice Cake with Peanut Butter
    • The peanut butter contains protein and fat while the rice cake has carbs. This combination will help balance your blood sugar throughout the night.
  • Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
    • These are the best go to snacks to have before bed. They contain Vitamin-D which has an important role in the production of melatonin. You want to make sure you have enough Vitamin-D in your body before you go to bed.

You can find the full list of recommended snacks here.

#3: Limit Caffeine Intake

Caffeine is a drug that increases the activity in your brain and nervous system. It can remain in your system anywhere from 3 to 5 hours after consumption and can cause your deep stages of sleep to be disrupted. The Daily Meal gives examples of foods and drinks that you may be surprised contain caffeine:2

  • Oreos: One Oreo contains 1.3 milligrams.
  • Decaf Coffee: One cup contains between 8 to 14 milligrams.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies: One cup of milk chocolate chips contains about 33.6 milligrams.

You may be thinking that just one Oreo wouldn’t hurt before bed, but even a small amount of caffeine can affect your sleep. The average amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee is 95 milligrams. It’s best to limit or avoid these types of food and drink items before bed.

#4: Exercise Consistently

Exercise has been known to improve sleep. However, the types of workouts you do can affect how well you sleep. It is not recommended to exercise intensely 3 to 4 hours before bed because it will increase your heart rate and make it more difficult to sleep. If you choose to exercise before bed, try yoga so that your body starts to wind down and prepare itself for rest.

Tria Health’s Pharmacy Advocate Program

Tria Health offers Chronic Condition Management through our Pharmacy Advocate Program. Clinical Pharmacists provide one-on one telephonic counseling for members and are their personal advocate to help them navigate through the health care system. Through reviewing a member’s medications and lifestyle, including their sleep habits, Tria Pharmacists can make recommendations that will help control their chronic conditions and help them feel better!

Sources

  1. https://www.chaptershealth.org/chapters-of-life-blog/families-caregivers/better-sleep-tips/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIjbHj76i09gIVmBfUAR0ZSAdqEAAYAiAAEgJSr_D_BwE
  2. https://www.thedailymeal.com/healthy-eating/20-foods-and-drinks-you-didn-t-know-had-caffeine-slideshow

National Sleep Awareness Week

Sleeping cat
Image Source: Sabri Tuzcu/Unsplash

National Sleep Awareness Week is from March 10 to 16, 2019. The goal of this week-long campaign is to promote the benefits of optimal sleep and how sleep affects health, well-being and safety. Sleep can be especially important when it comes to the development and management of several chronic diseases and conditions.

How Does Sleep Impact Chronic Disease?1

Insufficient sleep has been linked to multiple chronic diseases:

  • Diabetes: Research has found that insufficient sleep is linked to an increased risk for the development of type 2 diabetes. Specifically, sleep duration and quality have emerged as predictors of levels of Hemoglobin A1c, an important marker of blood sugar control.
  • Cardiovascular Disease: Persons with sleep apnea have been found to be at increased risk for a number of cardiovascular diseases. Notably, hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease and irregular heartbeats (cardiac arrhythmias) have been found to be more common among those with disordered sleep than their peers without sleep abnormalities.
  • Obesity: Laboratory research has found that short sleep duration results in metabolic changes that may be linked to obesity. Epidemiologic studies conducted in the community have also revealed an association between short sleep duration and excess body weight.

Benefits of Getting More Sleep2

  • Improved Mood: Every night while you’re asleep, your brain is working to process your emotions. Your mind needs this time in order to recognize and react the right way. When you cut that short, you tend to have more negative emotional reactions and fewer positive ones.
  • Healthier Heart: Sleep helps to lower your blood pressure and help in preventing heart disease.
  • More Energy: A good nights sleep can make a world of difference for your energy levels. It can also help improve your motivation and allow time for your muscles to repair.
  • Improved Brain Function: Sleep plays a big part in both learning and memory. Without enough sleep, it’s tough to focus and take in new information.
  • Strong Immune System: Ongoing lack of sleep changes the way your immune cells work. They may not attack as quickly, and you could get sick more often.

Click here if you’re interested in seeing the steps you can take to improve your sleep.

Tria Health’s Pharmacy Advocate Program

Tria Health offers Chronic Condition Management through our Pharmacy Advocate Program. Clinical Pharmacists provide one-on-one telephonic counseling for members and are their personal advocate to help them navigate through the health care system. Through reviewing a member’s medications and lifestyle, including their sleep habits, Tria Pharmacists can make recommendations that will help control their chronic conditions and help them feel better!

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/chronic_disease.html
  2. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/benefits-sleep-more#2

Sleep Smart to Improve Energy, Outlook and Productivity

Does it often take you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep at night? Or do you wake up frequently during the night — or too early in the morning — and have a hard time going back to sleep? When you awaken, do you feel groggy and lethargic? Do you feel drowsy during the day particularly during monotonous situations?  If you answered YES to any of these questions, you make be suffering from a sleeping issue, and you are not alone.

America is currently a sleep deprived country.  Overall sleep time is twenty percent less than a century ago!  The importance of sleep is vital and is not getting the attention that it deserves.

 The importance of sleep:

  • Restoration – energy to brain and body and allows for tissue growth and repair
  • Health – promotes healthy immune system, regulates hormones, growth, appetite, and mood
  • Memory consolidation

Sleep Stats:

  • 36% Americans drive drowsy/fall asleep – it is estimated that >100,000 auto crashes annually occur resulting in 1500 deaths.
  • 29% drowsy or fall asleep at work
  • 20% have lost interest in intimacy
  • 14% have missed social/family functions due to excessive fatigue

Sleep Quantity and Quality

Sleep quality refers to sleep efficiency. TIME IN BED=TIME SLEEPING!!

Frequent interruptions can lead to loss of important sleep stages.  Insomnia can result from medical or lifestyle/environmental contributors.  Medical insomnia often refers to sleep apnea, narcolepsy or restless leg syndrome (RLS).  Lifestyle/ environmental insomnia typical results from “sleep stealers.”

How much sleep is enough?

Age Sleep Needs
Newborns (1-2mon) 10.5-18 hours
Infants (3-11 mon) 9-12 hour nights and 4 naps/day
Toddlers (1-3yr) 12-14 hours
Children (3-5 yr) 11-13 hours
Children (5-12 yr) 10-11 hours
Teens 8.5-9.25 hours
Adults 7-9 hours
Older adults 7-9 hours

Common Sleep Stealers

  • Psychological – stress in the number one cause of short-term insomnia
  • Lifestyle Stressors – irregular sleep/exercise schedule, alcohol, caffeine
  • Shift work
  • Jet lag
  • Environment – temperature, light, noise, children/spouse, pets
  • Medical

Analyzing YOUR sleep habits

Look at your individual sleep patterns and behaviors.  Keeping a sleep diary is a great way to document your sleep quality and quantity.  It will also help you identify “sleep stealers.”

  • Identify fatigue level
  • Trouble staying awake during monotonous activities?
  • Unusually irritable??
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering facts?

Small changes YOU can make- Non-pharmacological Treatments and Solutions

  • Maintain regular sleep schedules – avoid “sleeping in” on weekends.  Daily sunlight exposure is important as well
  • Avoid post lunch caffeine
  • Avoid nicotine and alcohol within 2 hours of bedtime
  • Exercise regularly and earlier in the day – goal 30 minutes most days of the week preferably late afternoon (4-6 hrs before bed- this allows your body to cool down before bed)
  • Save bedroom for sleep and intimacy ONLY
  • Relax/unwind before bed- try to keep T.V., computers and smart phones out of the bedroom
  • Avoid daytime napping
  • Control bedroom temperature- a cool environment is usually best
  • Don’t lie in bed awake- if unable to fall asleep within 10 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing like reading or listening to soft music until drowsy
  • Stay up later? Make gradual changes to schedule to improve sleep efficiency

Tria Health Circle of CareVisit Triahealth.com or call our Tria Help Desk at 1.888.799.TRIA (8742) for more information.