Health and Wellness
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Did you know that there are six things we have control over that predict roughly 80% of the chronic illnesses we will face? These include sleep, diet, exercise, stress management, avoiding substance abuse, and finding community. It’s not necessarily a walk in the park to keep them all in check, but we do have the ability to shape our future with simple changes in these areas.
To no surprise, sleep is where it all begins. And if we’re being honest, a lot of us are having a hard time sleeping well these days. Our schedules and routines have been disrupted, and most of us are experiencing increased anxiety around the unknowns of life in a pandemic. Those two ingredients are a powerful recipe for a sleep deficiency or even insomnia.
And the truth is that even before COVID-19 upended our lives, less than 70% of people were getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep that we need every night.
Of course, merely functioning is the minimum requirement for our daily lives.
There’s an epidemic of what sleep experts call “presenteeism,” which means showing up for your responsibilities in life, but not being nearly as productive as you could be. In fact, a recent JAMA study released in September 2020 proved that low sleep correlates with low cognitive function — those with less than four hours or more than ten hours of sleep declined significantly faster than those getting seven hours of sleep each night. Too little sleep also makes us irritable and causes headaches, stomach troubles, anxiety and depression, and even increases our risk for obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
And, frankly, as we navigate pandemic living, we need to be functioning as well as possible just to weather the ups and downs. Getting good sleep is one of the best possible ways to do that. It will give you the foundation to survive—and (dare we say it?) maybe even thrive through—the slings and arrows of 2020.
Here’s your game plan to getting there:
If you’ve made these changes and you are still having trouble, try:
If you’ve made these changes and are still having problems—or if you are having difficulty breathing at night, snore or have achy, tingly or restless legs—consider consulting your doctor. Those are signs of medical conditions which can be treated.
Managing your sleep is a key pillar of longevity and overall health. If you’re worried about sleep management and are seeking a way to make a change, your Care team is here to help. Open the app and ask for a Sleep Care visit to speak to a doctor, nurse practitioner, or nurse now.