How much sleep, on average, do you get each night? Do you have a regular sleep schedule? These are important questions to ask yourself as research tells us most adults need about seven hours of sleep each day for good health. Sufficient sleep improves our energy level, and can enhance learning and memory.
Sleep deprivation can cause high blood pressure, depression, weight gain and inability to concentrate. Consistent sleep loss can increase your risk for heart attack or stroke.
It is helpful to stick to a regular bedtime and wake up schedule. Avoid coffee or other stimulants, like alcohol, before bedtime. Trying to make up for lost sleep on weekends is generally not effective or wise. Get regular exercise and turn off your computer or iPad at least 30 minutes before going to bed.
Take note of your sleep schedule for a week and commit to establishing a healthy sleep pattern. See what a difference it can make for you.
Michael Atwood, M.D., CHIE, is the vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. He is a board certified family physician and an American Academy of Family Physicians fellow.
Note: Since the date of this publication, Dr. Atwood has retired from BCBSKS.