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Oregon City Dentist, Dentist in Oregon City, OR

Alexander C.Y. Lin, D.D.S., P.C.

 

Cosmetic & Familly Dentistry
Including Snoring & Sleep Apnea Solutions

(503)656-8799

Patient Information
 

About Sleep

Sleep is a basic human need. It is essential for our health and well-being. It consumes 1/3 of our lives. Without it, we could not survive. Many important processes take place when we sleep:

  • Our brain organizes and stores information. Sleep loss leads to memory loss, inability to concentrate, decreased ability to react to stimuli
  • Important hormones are released. Loss of sleep affects our metabolism and endocrine control resulting in increased appetite, which leads to weight gain, insulin resistance (which can develop into Type II Diabetes) and loss of muscle mass.
  • The immune system is reinforced and replenished. Even one night of sleep loss can significantly weaken the immune system predisposing our bodies to disease and infection.
  • Blood pressure and heart rate decrease during sleep. Sleep loss counters this natural decline leading to hypertension and cardiovascular problems.
  • Beauty rest is not a myth. When you don't sleep enough your body produces excess cortisol, a hormone that breaks down skin cells. When your body gets enough sleep, the release of growth hormone helps skin remain thick, elastic and less likely to wrinkle.

Lawrence Epstein, M.D., a sleep expert from Harvard said "getting more good quality sleep is probably the easiest way to improve your health." So if your sleep deprivation is self-induced, try changing your habits so you can get the sleep your body needs. If your lack of sleep is due to a sleep disorder or you suspect you may be suffering from a sleep disorder speak to your doctor and get the proper evaluation.

How much sleep do you need?

There is no set amount if time that everyone needs to sleep, since there is individual variation. However, most people have the following sleep needs over their life cycle:

  • Babies: 14-15 hours
  • Toddlers: 12-14 hours
  • Ages 3-5: 11-13 hours
  • Ages 5-12: 10-11 hours
  • Teenagers: 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 hours
  • Adults: 7-9 hours
  • Elderly 7-9 hours

Tips for getting a good night's sleep

  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day including the weekend.
  • Don't exercise within 2 to 3 hours of bedtime. Exercising early in the day actually helps you sleep.
  • Don't eat a large meal within 1 to 2 hours of going to bed. Major digestive efforts can keep you up. A full stomach during sleep can also cause heartburn or reflux.
  • Have a light snack before bed. It is difficult to fall asleep when you are hungry, but a little bit of food can help you fall asleep.
  • Adopt soothing bedtime rituals, like a warm bath or listening to soothing music
  • Turn down the thermostat. Cool temperatures help induce sleep.
  • Create a dark and quiet environment. Light is a signal to our brain that it is time to wake up and noise can be disruptive.
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol within 4 hours of bedtime as it can lead to disrupted sleep.
  • Save your worries for the daytime. Keep a "worry book" or "to do list" by your bed. If tasks or worries come to mind as you are trying to fall asleep, jot them down so you can put them out of your mind and be ready to deal with them the next day.