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3 Reasons a Good Night’s Sleep is Important for your Health

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According to the Sleep Association, about 50-70 million adults in the U.S. have a sleep disorder, involving issues with the quality of sleep that can cause a number of health consequences— a problem that can be exacerbated by the stress brought on from the pandemic. Joining me is Mihaela Vincze, public health expert for nonprofit Transamerica Institute, here to discuss the importance of good sleep, and methods you can use to improve your sleep. Al: Thanks for joining me. Mihaela: Thank you for having me.

Al: We all know that a good night’s sleep is important to recharge your energy levels each day, but how much sleep should we be getting? Mihaela: Sleep needs vary from person to person based off factors such as age and lifestyle, but experts agree that 7 to 9 hours is a healthy amount. That being said, it is important to listen to your body for cues to indicate how much sleep you may need, which can vary. If you believe your body is demanding an unusually high or low amount of sleep, you should discuss this with your doctor.

Al: Yes, it is so important to share any sleep concerns with your doctor to determine if you’re experiencing any underlying health issues. What are some of the benefits of a good night’s sleep? Mihaela: Well for one, good sleep is a critical aspect of your heart and blood health. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, and diabetes. This is because sleep helps to maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that regulate hunger and control blood sugar levels.

Al: That is such a critical point given that heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in the United States and can increase one’s susceptibility to COVID-19. What are other health benefits of good sleep? Mihaela: Sleep is also important for maintaining a healthy immune system. Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to

get sick after being exposed to a virus such as COVID-19 and may take longer to recover after getting sick.

Al: It is so important to do what we can to maintain a healthy immune system especially amid a global pandemic. How else can sleep improve our health? Mihaela: Another key health impact of sleep is brain function. A good night’s sleep corresponds with sharper brain processes such as learning, decision-making, and problem-solving, according to the Dana Foundation. On the other hand, poor sleep can cause emotional instability, resulting in conditions such as depression, anger, impulsiveness, or mood swings.

Al: These are all strong incentives to start prioritizing good sleep and improve your health. What methods do you recommend to listeners to achieve healthier sleep? Mihaela: Try to schedule a consistent bedtime and wake-up time. This consistency can help your body acclimate to a healthy sleep schedule. Also, remember to avoid screen time for about an hour before bed. When having difficulty falling asleep, you can try meditation, breathing patterns, or imagery techniques. Visit the Sleep Foundation’s “What to Do When You Can’t Sleep” page to learn more.

Al: Thank you again for joining us, Mihaela. Mihaela: Good to be here! Al: This has been another episode of ClearPath Radio – Your Roadmap to Health & Wealth. I’m your host Al Waller – thanks for listening.

Al Waller is a long time native of the Baltimore area. He entered the field of Human Resources Management starting as an HR Generalist with PwC (Pricewaterhouse-Coopers). This marked the beginning of a 30 year career that advanced into the management level for locally and globally based corporations. His primary area of expertise has focused on but not limited to: Talent Acquisition /Retention, Employee Relations as well as Training & Development.
Mihaela is a public health expert for nonprofit Transamerica Institute