Understanding the importance of quality sleep
March 11, 2022
Sleep Awareness Week begins March 13
Eau Claire, WI – Thirty five percent of U.S. adults report sleeping less than the recommended minimum 7 hours each night; 73 percent of teenagers say they get less than the recommended 8 to 10 hours of sleep for their age, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).
Sunday, March 13 marks the beginning of Sleep Awareness Week. It’s also the day to move clocks ahead one hour as Daylight Saving Time begins.
Sleep is one of the pillars of a healthy lifestyle, along with a balanced diet and regular exercise. Kelly Schmidt, HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital Sleep Disorders Center Facilitator says sleep is when the brain and body disconnect from the senses, no longer allowing us to process information from the outside. In turn, sleep allows us to review activities and experiences from the day which strengthens memory; gives our organs time to rest; allows our immune system to scan for infections and fight illnesses; and allows a child or teenager’s muscles to grow.
“Sleep also helps us think more clearly and creatively, and improves mood,” says Schmidt. “And it keeps us safe by helping to avoid drowsy driving and accidents at work.”
The term ‘sleep hygiene’ refers to a series of healthy sleep habits that can improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep:
- Limit the use of electronics one hour prior to bed to prepare bodies and brains for sleep
- Do not go to bed hungry
- Keep the bedroom temperature cooler than the rest of the house
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol four to six hours before bedtime
- If you don’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed and do a quiet activity without a lot of light exposure until you feel sleepy
Schmidt says it’s always best to stay in a routine when it comes to bedtime and wake time, especially with kids. “It’s difficult to get kids to bed sometimes, so allowing them to stay up a bit later every now and then is okay but try not to deviate more than one hour.”
Insufficient sleep can lead to health conditions such as irritability, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and diabetes.
There are more than 80 identified sleep disorders and sometimes the cause has nothing to do with actual lack of sleep, according to Schmidt. She says stress, depression, a change in family dynamics, a new career and other life adjustments can lead to trouble sleeping.
If you have concerns about sleep patterns, or have difficulties falling or staying asleep, contact the HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital Sleep Disorders Center at 715-717-4933, or learn more on our website.
For more information about getting quality sleep, visit the AASM sleep education webpage.
About HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital
HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the Founding Institute, and it is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1889, it has been meeting patient needs in western Wisconsin with the latest medical innovations and technology, together with a Franciscan whole-person healing tradition.
About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high quality, Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our physician practices and 15 local hospitals in two states - Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan, and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org. For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visit www.hospitalsisters.org.
Communications Department HSHS Wisconsin