Difficulty sleeping? | Dr. Petter
By DR. LINDA PETTER
Auburn Reporter Columnist
March 20, 2013 · Updated 7:21 PM
A new study released in The European Heart Journal links insomnia to heart disease. This study followed 54,279 adults (ages 20 to 89) over a period of 11 years.
Results showed having just one symptom of insomnia increased an individual's chance of developing heart disease by 17 percent, and having two symptoms increased the risk to 92 percent.
Chronic insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep for a period of four weeks or longer. Now, not only can long-term insomnia lead to heart disease but it also can cause memory problems, headaches, depressed immune system, irritability, daytime fatigue, weight fluctuations, stomach and intestinal problems and depression.
The average adult needs seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night; the elderly less, teens and children more. Unfortunately, many people frequently and often unknowingly sabotage their sleep as a result of poor habits.
12 tips for more restful sleep:
1. Avoid caffeine after noontime daily, as caffeine can stay active in your body for up to 12 hours.
2. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages in the evening, as this can cause restless sleep and frequent waking.
3. Do not eat within three to four hours of bedtime.
4. Withhold fluids within three hours of bedtime to help prevent frequent waking and trips to the bathroom.
5. Do not nap during the day.
6. Do not read or watch TV in bed.
7. Keep the children and pets out of the bedroom.
8. Do not exercise before bed as this tends to keep the mind active and alert.
9. Do not watch the clock while in bed, rather, hide it from your sight.
10. Keep the temperature in the bedroom comfortable.
11. Wake up at the same time every day.
12. One hour before bed, begin to "wind down." Turn down the volume of the TV, listen to relaxing music, turn down the intensity of lights, take a hot shower or bath, meditate, etc.
If after four weeks you are still struggling to get consistent sleep every night, make an appointment to see your doctor. There are many other causes of insomnia. A few examples include certain prescription medications, restless legs, pain, obstructive sleep apnea and depression.
Dr. Linda Petter of Auburn is a feature on KOMO TV/Newsradio in Seattle (1000 AM and 97.7 FM) every Saturday and Sunday at 7:45 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. She trained at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Illinois, Carle Hospital. Petter is chief of the Department of Family Practice at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way. She is a consumer healthcare advocate and author of two books, "Healthcare On a Budget" and "Common Medical Sense". Visit her website, www.DocForAll.com, or call her office at 253-568-0841.Contact Auburn Reporter Columnist Dr. Linda Petter at www.DocForAll.com or 253-568-0841.