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The Power of Sleep

Christina Sauder, MS, Clinical Research Program Administrator | Vail Health Behavioral Health

One of the most powerful longevity practices also happens to be completely free…good SLEEP! To achieve quality sleep, aim to routinely sleep 7 to 9 hours per night. This should leave you feeling refreshed upon awakening. Good sleep can help protect cardiovascular and cognitive function, control your blood sugar levels, reduce the risk for certain forms of cancer, decrease risk for anxiety and depression, improve safety while operating a motor vehicle, regulate hunger, improve your learning aptitude and performance at work, and much more. 

If you are still not convinced about the power of sleep or would like to learn more, check out Dr. Matthew Walker’s book Why We Sleep. In his book, he provides “Twelve Tips for Healthy Sleep”:

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule
  2. Exercise (but not too late in the day)
  3. Avoid caffeine and nicotine. The effects of caffeine can last as long as 8 hours, so if you need that cup of coffee, limit it to the morning.
  4. Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed
  5. Avoid large meals and beverages late at night
  6. If possible, avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep. If needed, work with your provider to identify on ideal time to take your medications that reduces its impact on sleep.
  7. Don’t take naps after 3 p.m.
  8. Relax before bed
  9. Take a hot bath before bed
  10. Dark bedroom, cool bedroom, gadget-free bedroom
  11. Get outside in the natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes a day.
  12. Don’t lie in bed awake. If you can’t sleep, get up and do some relaxing activity until you feel sleepy. 
Be well and get some sleep!

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