From the Smarty Health Corner and CEENTA: How to help your family sleep
By our Smarty friends at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A.
Sleep is very important for a person’s health. Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night and children need 10. However, only about a third of us get the sleep we need. May is Better Sleep Month, so if your family has difficulty sleeping, now is a good time to talk to them about what they can do to get the rest they need.
Sleep has a number of health benefits, such as healing and repairing your heart and blood vessels. Sleep also releases hormones in the bodies of children and teenagers that help them grow normally. The same hormone also boosts muscle mass and repairs cells.
A lack of sleep, however, can lead to a number of health problems, such as raised blood pressure levels and stress hormone production. Immune systems can weaken. People can find it harder to concentrate or remember things, may have mood swings, and may be more irritable or depressed.
The same basic guidelines for getting more regular sleep each night apply to you, your children, and your parents. It’s best if you get on a regular sleep/wake schedule and sleep in dark, quiet, comfortable environments. It’s also recommended that adults drink no caffeine or alcohol later than six hours before bedtime. It’s also best to not eat heavy or spicy meals before bed.
While exercise during the day helps you sleep, it’s best to avoid exercise more than four hours before bed. It’s also recommended that you avoid watching TV or reading from tablets or other backlit devices before bed, too.
But for all the good things you can do to sleep better, you should avoid sleeping pills and sleep aids. Sleep aids are never completely safe, CEENTA Sleep Services Medical Director Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg, MD, said. You always have to review the risk vs. benefit for each individual situation.
“We now think that there are more side effects than benefits, and changes in behavior tend to be the best one,” Dr. Abbasi-Feinberg said. “If sleep aids are needed, patients should really discuss it with their physicians and use the smallest dose possible for the least number of days possible.”
No matter what your age, sleep is an important part of our daily lives. Following these steps can help your whole family sleep soundly.
To make an appointment with one of CEENTA’s sleep specialists, call 704-295-3000.