Sleep is important in managing chronic diseases
So often we don’t value the importance of getting a good night sleep. Sleep plays a very important role in managing chronic diseases. Sleep repairs our damaged cells and gives us the energy we need to live a healthier life.
April 7, 2013 - Author: Julie Moberg, Michigan State University Extension
Having a chronic disease can be very challenging. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to think about the many factors that affect your health. Getting a good night sleep can be the first step in managing your condition.
A good night sleep on a regular basis is important in maintaining your health. When we sleep our bodies secrete hormones which repair the body’s cells and tissues. It is especially important for people who have chronic conditions because it helps to repair the daily damage inflicted by the chronic condition and it is important in the body’s attempt to recover. Good sleep also helps to improve our mental health. According to the Centers for Disease Control, depression is often associated with chronic diseases and without proper sleep, depression can worsen.
What are some tips for getting a good night’s sleep? A regular schedule for going to bed and rising in the morning, at about the same time each day helps to regulate our body’s sleep pattern. Try not to eat too close to bedtime. Try avoiding caffeine and alcohol at least four hours before bed. Both caffeine and alcohol actually disrupts our sleep cycles. Also, try not to drink liquids near bedtime to avoid having to get up at night to use the restroom. If you are light sleeper, make your environment as noise free as you can by using earplugs or closing your bedroom door. Also try to extinguish any light sources in the room including alarm clocks and cell phones. If you are taking medications that interfere with your sleep, consult your doctor about the time of day you are taking them. Ask the doctor if you can take the medications during the day time.
If you fall asleep quickly, but often wake up in the middle of the night, you may be experiencing anxiety or depression. If your mind is racing with thoughts, try learning distraction techniques such as meditation and deep breathing techniques. If it persists, talk with your physician.
A good night sleep can be the key to giving us the energy we need to manage our chronic disease and our everyday tasks that lead to a healthier life. For more information on how to manage your chronic disease, contact your local Michigan State University Extension office to locate a chronic disease self-management program.