Is sleeping in unhealthy?
If there is one thing that is for certain, it is that Americans do not get enough sleep. From long work days, to stress, getting caught up in the cycle of fighting fatigue with caffeine, and sleep disorders, many of us can’t remember the last time we had a really good night’s rest, or even a decent one. In fact, 8 in 10 Americans say they would feel better and be better prepared for the day ahead if got an extra hour of sleep the night before, according to the Better Sleep Council. When the day off from work rolls around, getting some extra shut-eye is not the best solution, health experts say. In fact, sleeping in, although it can feel great at the time, may be counterproductive to a healthy lifestyle.
Routine Sleep Schedule is a Delicate Balance
One of the leading tips for getting better, high quality sleep every night is setting and sticking to a regular sleep schedule. That means going to bed and waking at roughly the same times seven days a week – even on your days off from work or school. Sleeping in, even two days a week, could disrupt this natural sleep rhythm and cause problems during the workweek. On average, we need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. This doesn’t mean, however, that we can average out those hours over a week. Sleep experts agree building up a sleep deficit to fill up on the weekends doesn’t work in our favor.
To find your ideal sleep schedule, find a one or two-week period of time you are available to experiment with your sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night and see what time you naturally (without alarms) wake up over the course of this experiment. While it may take a while to recover from true sleep deprivation, you will find you naturally wake up around the same time every morning if you go to sleep at the same time each night. This is the sleep schedule you should stick to throughout the year.
Oversleeping Increases Risk of Medical Conditions
Hitting the snooze button one too many times can also be bad for your health. From increasing the risk for diabetes, heart disease, depression and obesity, to name a few, oversleeping on a regular basis does not promote a healthy lifestyle. Many of us say time is one of the biggest obstacles when it comes to getting regular physical activity. By shaving off an extra 30 minutes to an hour every day with extra sleep, we make it more difficult to squeeze exercise into busy schedules.
Also, oversleeping tends to beget more oversleeping. Since we are not waking feeling rested, it is common to try remedies such as caffeine to help get us through the morning hours. Then as the caffeine fades, we go back for more around lunchtime or early afternoon. Given that it takes five to seven hours for half of the caffeine to leave your system, you still have 25 percent of that caffeine left in your system after eight to ten hours – right around the time you would like to go to bed. Having trouble going to sleep means you wake tired the next morning, just in time to start the cycle all over again.
Less sleep and less energy means we are more likely to skip the gym and make poor food choices. Day after day these decisions become the foundation for our health and therefore, we can see why we are more likely to suffer from the medical conditions mentioned.
Could Be Indicator of Sleep Disorder
If your constant feelings of tiredness are more than just getting caught up in the cycle of fighting fatigue with temporary measures such as caffeine, it may be blame to one of 70 sleep disorders, which can also have detrimental impacts on your health. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports that 40 million Americans suffer from a long-term sleep disorder. As many as 20 million Americans, they say, experience occasional sleep problems. Neither are something you should ignore or hope will improve without treatment.
Undiagnosed and untreated sleep disorders can cause serious health problems ranging from hypertension, heart disease, stroke, depression, and a number of other chronic health conditions. However, treating sleep conditions like sleep apnea, for example, can help reduce the risk of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) from reoccurring – a major risk factor for stroke.
If you are experiencing regular sleep disruptions or wake feeling tired most mornings, talk to your health care provider. Screenings such as a sleep study can identify if you have a sleep disorder, which needs to be diagnosed and treated. To learn more about Sleep Care at Hillcrest Hospital Cushing, please call 918-225-8266 or 918-225-8480 or click here.