The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year—unless you get sick. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your immune system and prevent sickness from derailing your holiday travel plans. Here are seven tips for staying healthy throughout the holiday travel season.
About one-third of adults in the United States report getting less than the recommended amount of sleep each night. “A lack of sleep negatively impacts your mind and body and is associated with chronic conditions such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and depression,” said John Keeley, Clinical Education Specialist at Inspira Sleep Center. “Knowing how much sleep you need and developing habits that promote quality sleep is essential to your overall health and well-being.”
Sleep duration and cardiovascular health
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and globally. However, research suggests that more than 80 percent of all cardiovascular events can be prevented by managing risk factors and adopting a healthier lifestyle—including sleep.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), sleep duration is essential to cardiovascular and neurological health. Along with healthy sleep, the AHA’s Life’s Essential 8TM checklist for improving and maintaining cardiovascular health includes behaviors and factors like nicotine exposure, diet, weight, physical activity, cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose.
The decision to add sleep duration to this checklist is research-based. “The latest findings tell us that sleep affects our overall health,” said Keeley. “People with healthier sleep habits can more effectively manage cardiovascular risk factors, such as weight and blood pressure.”
How much sleep do I need?
The amount of sleep you need changes as you age. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) makes the following recommendations for hours of sleep based on age group:
- Infants: 12 to 16 hours
- Toddlers: 11 to 14 hours
- Children 3 to 5: 10 to 14 hours
- Children 6 to 12: 9 to 12 hours
- Teenagers: 8 to 10 hours
- Adults: 7 or more hours
Tips for good sleep hygiene
Good sleep habits can enhance your overall health. You can improve your sleep hygiene by:
- Going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning
- Setting an early bedtime to ensure you get the recommended amount of sleep
- Limiting exposure to bright lights and electronics in the evening
- Removing electronic devices from your bedroom and keeping it quiet, dark, cool and relaxing
- Engaging in physical activity during the day and maintaining a healthy diet
- Avoiding large meals, caffeine and alcohol before bedtime
Child sleep tips
“For families with children in school, caregivers may need to modify sleep schedules to ensure their children get enough sleep,” said Keeley. “To account for the early start of most school days, start adjusting to an earlier bedtime.” Going to bed earlier can help your child get the recommended amount of sleep for their age.
Practicing healthy sleep habits with your family and talking about the importance of sleep can help your child understand why sleep is so vital.
Inspira Health is a high reliability organization (HRO), which means safety is the top priority for patients and staff. To make an appointment, call 1-800-INSPIRA.