Grab Some Zzzzz’s and Celebrate National Sleep Awareness Week

Grab Some Zzzzz’s and Celebrate National Sleep Awareness Week

March 8-14 is National Sleep Awareness Week. Sleep has many benefits for our health beyond feeling well rested. One of the major benefits of sleep is decreased inflammatory markers. Inflammation has been linked to chronic pain, diabetes, heart and vascular conditions, digestive conditions, and many more. 

What happens when you don’t get enough sleep?

  • Short term effects
    • Anxiety
    • Drowsiness (including drowsy driving that could lead to automobile accidents)
    • Forgetfulness
    • Being easily distracted
    • Lower performance and focus
    • Hard to remember things
    • Hard to think clearly
  • Long term effects
    • High blood pressure
    • Heart attack
    • Stroke
    • Obesity or increased weight gain
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Depression and mood disorder
    • Low quality of life

Tips to get good sleep (also known as “sleep hygiene”):

  1. Maintaining a regular sleep/wake cycle when possible
    • Go to bed and wake up around the same time everyday
  2. Create a bedtime routine
    • For example: shower, put on pajamas, brush/floss teeth, turn off lights, go into bed
  3. Keep your bedroom quiet and dark
    • Turn off all lights and sounds (including TV, bedtime light is okay)
    • Request sleeping partner to sleep at same time to reduce noise
  4. Decrease the use of light emitting electronics prior to bed
    • Put your phone away and turn off TV 30 minutes before you sleep
  5. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and narcotics
  6. Avoid indigestion (from large or fatty/fried meals, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, and carbonated drinks) before bed. A light snack is ok.
  7. Use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, and meditation
    • For example: say two things you are thankful for each night before you sleep
  8. Regular exercise today, even walking for 30 minutes, can help you sleep better tonight

For more information check out these resources:

Valley Medical Center’s Sleep Center:

Valley Medical Center’s Lifestyle Medicine Center:

Sleep Foundation:

Johns Hopkins Medicine:

American Occupational Therapy Association:

Science Daily:

By: Valley Medical Center’s Lifestyle Medicine Team

About The Author

Valley Medical Center's Marketing and Community Outreach Office