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Signs that You May Not Be Getting Enough Sleep

Premier HealthNet Physician Recommends Practicing Sleep Hygiene for Restorative Night’s Sleep

MASON, Ohio (February 15, 2013) – For many southwest Ohioans, it seems as though by the time they get home from work, make dinner, walk the dog, pay the bills, put the kids to bed, pick up the house and take care of the rest of life’s demands, there is little room in that packed schedule for sleep. It’s about that time that the warning signs of sleep deprivation – persistent illness, general fogginess and body aches and pains – start to show.

When sleep falls from being a priority to a luxury, a lack of sleep can cause both minor and serious illness, said Dale Block, MD, a Premier HealthNet primary care physician.

“Experts suggest that for complete physical and physiological functioning, we probably need around eight hours of good, restful sleep per day,” said Dr. Block who practices at Premier Family Care of Mason. “That means a very deep sleep, one that’s restorative and allows for protection of the heart and brain.”

Dr. Block said that one of the first signs that someone is not getting enough sleep is a loss in productivity.

“Others around a person who isn’t sleeping enough may actually see the signs before the individual person them self,” said Dr. Block. “They may not appear alert, they may have poor concentration, kind of fogginess, failure to pay attention to detail or be irritable.”

People who don’t get enough rest also have more physical complaints than those who are. These complaints are more prevalent in teenagers and young adults who aren’t getting the proper amount of sleep each night. 

“They’re more susceptible to colds and other kinds of viral illnesses,” Dr. Block said. “They also may have the classic physical signs of dark rings around the eyes, or when asked how they are doing they’ll describe a general sense of not feeling well.”

A deep sleep allows for repairing of the body. This essential rest may help to prevent cancer and reduce inflammation, which would reduce the occurrence of heart attacks and strokes.  According to Dr. Block deep sleep that occurs on a regular basis also reduces stress, enhances productivity, bolsters memory and increases alertness.

For those who may be suffering from a lack of sleep Dr. Block suggests practicing sleep hygiene. This includes:

  • Soaking in a hot bath for 20 to 30 minutes about two hours before bed;
  • Pick a consistent time to get ready for bed each night;
  • Shut down all electronics – computer, smart phones and video games;
  • Avoid eating or drinking close to bed time; and,
  • Begin the transition to sleep by dimming the lights an hour before bedtime.

 “If sleep hygiene methods do not help an individual to get a good nights rest, then I would recommend a person see their primary care physician,” said Dr. Block. “Having an in-depth evaluation from a medical perspective to uncover an underlying problem may determine why they are not sleeping.”

Primary care physicians are the first stop for diagnosing and treating sleep problems and disorders. Physicians can advise patients on healthy habits or prescribe medication to address sleep problems. Sometimes, however, additional observation and expertise is required, so a patient might be referred to a sleep specialist. The Miami Valley Hospital Center for Sleep and Wake Disorders and the Sleep Center are two places in Southwest Ohio where referred patients can go for sleep disorder testing and treatment. 

View frequently asked questions about sleep health.

 

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