• Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

Get better sleep in the New Year with these 8 discoveries

Byusanewscart.com

Jan 1, 2024

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When it comes to setting healthy resolutions for the New Year, sleep is just as essential as nutrition and exercise, experts agree.

A lack of sleep can put you at a greater risk for obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, poor mental health and even early death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Also, a sleep deficit can adversely impact mood, productivity and focus throughout the day.

SLEEPING LONGER OVER THE WEEKEND COULD HELP PREVENT HEART ATTACKS, SAYS STUDY

Below are nine of the most noteworthy sleep findings that Fox News Digital has covered over the past 12 months. 

Each of these findings can bring you better sleep in the year ahead. 

Sleep triple split

A lack of sleep can put you at a greater risk of obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, poor mental health and even early death, according to the CDC. (iStock)

1. Catching up on sleep during the weekends could have health benefits

A study published in the journal Sleep Health found that people who slept for at least one hour longer on weekends had lower rates of cardiovascular disease compared to those who didn’t get catch-up sleep.

The biggest benefit was seen in those who got less than six hours of sleep on weekdays and slept for at least two extra hours on weekends.

Woman sleeping

People who slept for at least one hour longer on weekends had lower rates of cardiovascular disease compared to those who didn’t get catch-up sleep. (iStock)

Although this was an observational study, Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, said he believes the finding is valid.

“More  sleep brings your metabolism down to a lower level where the risks are lower,” he said.

2. Not everyone needs 8 hours of sleep each night

Most people tend to focus on the number of hours of shuteye they get each evening, but experts say that might not be the most important metric.

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In November, Harvard researchers presented study findings that showed sleep regularity — drifting off and waking up at around the same time each day — could be even more important than quantity.

Woman awake

Consistency of sleep may be more important than the number of hours of shuteye, experts say. (iStock)

“When we disrupt our circadian rhythm by going to bed and waking up at different times each day, we can experience a number of negative health consequences, including insomnia, daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating and increased risk of chronic diseases,” one of the researchers told Fox News Digital. 

3. Sleep tracking is beneficial — until it goes too far

Using a wearable tracking device can help people get a healthy duration and quality of sleep — but when they fixate too much on that data, it can lead to a disorder called orthosomnia.

SLEEP TRACKING GOING TOO FAR? YOU MIGHT BE SUFFERING FROM THIS CONDITION, EXPERT SAYS

The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine coined the term to describe patients who are “preoccupied or concerned with improving or perfecting their wearable sleep data.”

Sleep tracking data

Fixating too much on sleep tracking data can lead to an anxiety disorder called orthosomnia. (iStock)

People who become obsessive or anxious about sleep tracking should take a break from tracking and/or consult with a sleep specialist, experts say.

4. Sleep and mental health are closely linked

A majority of people (78% of respondents) found that a lack of sleep is negatively affecting their mental health, according to a fall report from Calm, the maker of the sleep and meditation app.

LACK OF SLEEP IS COMPROMISING THE MENTAL HEALTH OF 78% OF ADULTS, SURVEY FINDS

“Sleep deprivation affects your psychological state and mental health,” Dr. Raj Dasgupta, chief medical adviser at Sleepopolis in California, told Fox News Digital. 

“And those with mental health problems are more likely to have insomnia or other sleep disorders.”

People who have sleep difficulties that impact their mental health — or vice versa — should consult with a specialist, experts say.

5. Winter is the season for the most sleep struggles

Six in 10 Americans said their sleep routines feel different during the winter than in other seasons, according to a survey commissioned by Mattress Firm and conducted by OnePoll between Sept. 26 and Sept. 29.

SLEEP PROBLEMS WORSEN DURING THE WINTER, US ADULTS SAY IN NEW SURVEY

A quarter of people said it is most difficult to wake up during the winter and 21% said the season makes them feel more tired.

woman at window

A quarter of people said it is most difficult to wake up during the winter and 21% said the season makes them feel more tired. (iStock)

“One of the best things you can do for your body is to get active during the day and give it a relaxing environment for sleep,” said Dr. Jade Wu, sleep adviser at Mattress Firm in North Carolina, as reported by SWNS. 

6. If you wake up and can’t fall back asleep, checking the clock is a bad idea

It may be tempting to look at your phone or clock when sleep is interrupted, but according to experts, that could make it more difficult to drift back off.

SLEEP INTERRUPTED: WHAT TO DO, AND WHAT NOT TO DO, WHEN YOU WAKE UP AND CAN’T DRIFT BACK OFF

“Checking the time can increase stress and make it harder to sleep,” Dr. Biquan Luo, a San Francisco sleep expert, told Fox News Digital.

“Additionally, if you check the time on your phone, the contents of the phone may be too stimulating, which further prevents you from relaxing and falling asleep.”

woman can't sleep

Experts advise against checking the time if you wake up in the middle of the night, as it can increase stress and anxiety. (iStock)

Instead, Luo recommended trying such techniques as progressive relaxation, breathing exercises, white noise machines and other methods to help you relax. 

If that doesn’t work within 10 or 15 minutes, she said it’s best to get out of bed and engage in a quiet, low-stimulation activity.

7. The wrong mattress can be detrimental to sleep

Your choice of mattress can make or break the quality of your sleep, experts agreed. 

Sleeping on a hard mattress can increase the chances of getting poor sleep by 78%, according to data from Sleep Doctor.

6 SIGNS YOUR MATTRESS MIGHT BE DISRUPTING YOUR SLEEP, ACCORDING TO EXPERTS

Some common signs that you might need a new mattress include difficulty falling asleep, aches and pains in the morning, allergy symptoms or visible signs of wear.

Woman waking up in pain

Sleeping on a hard mattress can increase the chances of getting poor sleep by 78%, according to data from Sleep Doctor. (iStock)

When choosing a new mattress, your sleep position, body type and personal preferences for feel and materials should all come into play, according to Dr. Shelby Harris, director of sleep health for the website Sleepopolis and a licensed clinical psychologist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

8. Proper lighting is key to sleep

External light can be a major sleep disruptor, warned Harris.

SLEEP EASY: 6 WAYS TO ADJUST YOUR BEDROOM SO YOU GET A GOOD NIGHT’S REST

“If your bedroom windows allow external light, such as streetlights, into your room, it’s important to have curtains or blinds to block out this light and avoid sleep disruptions,” she told Fox News Digital.

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Other offenders include the blue light that is emitted from cell phones, computers and tablets.

Instead, experts recommend using orange or sunset-colored lights ahead of bedtime and keeping lights dim.

9. A WWII-era military sleep method could help with insomnia

A method used by the U.S. military during World War II could help people fall asleep in less than five minutes, some claim.

Soldier sleeping

A method used by the U.S. military in World War II could help people fall asleep in less than five minutes, some claim. (iStock)

The “military sleep technique” involves relaxing every muscle in the body, starting with the face and working your way down, while taking slow, deep breaths.

WWII-ERA MILITARY SLEEP METHOD COULD HELP INSOMNIACS NOD OFF QUICKLY, SOME CLAIM: ‘PEACE AND CALM’

“Muscle relaxation going down the body, along with a focus on deep breathing, can be an effective way to both increase relaxation and reduce thinking,” Dr. Alex Dimitriu, founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine in California, told Fox News Digital.

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“It works even better with the final steps, which focus on increasing visualization and clearing the mind of thought.”

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.

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