Rx: More Sleep

In 2018 I started an intensive self-exploration in sleep.  According to the National Institute of Health, up to 10 million Americans are affected by chronic sleep disorders.  It didn’t take a whole lot of analysis or extensive testing to know that I was part of that growing group and had been for many years.

 

The first indicator of my sleep shortage came about five years ago when I found it hard to fall asleep, even after long work days and exhaustive workouts.  Chronic fatigue was also an issue. Over the next few years, I experimented with Ambien(with the guidance of my physician), over the counter Tylenol PM, natural supplements like melatonin and chamomile tea while slowly refining my sleep hygiene with attention to bedroom sleep thieves like sounds, lights, and electronic devices.

 

One of the greatest tools I started using is the app Sleep Cycle.  The app uses the microphone in your cell phone to track relative sleep quality through the night and make recommendations based on the results.  My negative influencers to sleep revealed themselves to be too much screen time, daily work stress combined with lack of consistent exercise, late eating and excessive caffeine consumption.  Check out Sleep Cycle to find your sleep thieves:

https://www.sleepcycle.com/

 

So on January 1st 2018, I set the goal of increasing my sleep quality and quantity by working to minimize or eliminate some or all of these negative factors while investing into and exploring positive factors like stress relief through daily meditation(more on that in a later post), control of bedroom temperature/light/noise, and pushing for a consistent bedtime routine.  While the results weren’t immediate, I have found over time my overall energy level has increased without the dependency on caffeine. (I drink about a ½ cup black coffee each morning). As perfectly stated by Arianna Huffington in her best selling book, The Sleep Revolution, “Sleep, afterall, is all about recharging, which gives us more energy, focus and ability to deal with stress.  All of which require resources that need to be replenished every night.”

 

Starting next week, the entire Storyville Team will participate in Ochsner’s 5-Day Healthy Sleep Challenge.  At your next visit, ask us more about what we learned in the process and how you can improve your own sleep!

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