World Sleep Society (WSS)

Can Changing your Bedtime Impact your Health?

March 13th, 2020

Sleep can often be overlooked when discussing personal health, but research education on sleep has proven that sleep should be a top priority! World Sleep Day, sponsored by the World Sleep Society (WSS), annually focuses on important issues regarding sleep in relation to many topics, including medicine, oral health, and everyday physical and mental performance.

Turns out, staying up to binge watch your favorite TV show may be putting your health at risk. A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that your risk of having a heart attack or heart disease significantly increases with the simple act of changing your regular sleep cycle in either direction by just 90 minutes! In fact, According to Tianyi Huang, the study's author and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, it was found that individuals with more than a 90 minute time difference on average for seven consecutive nights were two times more at risk of heart disease over a 5 year period. The participants of this study included over 2,000 people ages 45 to 84 who did not have any cardiovascular disease over a five-year period. The participant's sleep was monitored using a sleep wrist tracker for seven days. Approximately 1/4th of the participants were found not to have a regular bedtime. Huang notes that this observation may be even more drastic in younger people, as the demands for work and school are often present. Other studies have also linked lack of sleep with weight gain, a weakened immune system, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer's, depression, anxiety and other disorders.

Here's what you can do to help improve your sleep schedule:
Be sure to get your daily Exercise:
According to the National Sleep Foundation, exercising helps promote good quality sleep! Staying active daily is important for your overall health.
Keep cool:
Be sure to make sure the room you sleep in is a comfortable tempetuare, typically between 60 and 67 degrees, and is well ventilated. Also, avoid watching television or doing work in your bedroom. Bright lights from electronics can disrupt your sleep cycle.
Avoid certain food and drink:
Avoid consuming caffeine at least six hours before your normal bedtime. This can include coffee, sodas, tea, and even chocolate. Also, heavy and spicy foods can cause digestive trouble and affect your quality of sleep. Sugar is also on the top of the list to avoid, particularly before bedtime as it is linked to restlessness. Not to mention, you will be helping your teeth by cutting back on the sugar! The National Sleep Foundation recommends switching to healthy snacks suchas nuts, cherries, bananas, and decaffeinated teas. Alcohol should also be avoided prior to bedtime, as it can disrupt the normal stages of sleep.
Create and stick to a regular bedtime and wake-up time:
Keeping our circadian rhythm consistent is important, as the more days you sleep irregularly, the more you are at risk for diseases such as heart disease as shown by research. Create a regular routine before going to bed each night. The recommended amount of sleep is typically between 7-10 hours each night, depending on age.
Be mindful of naps:
Although naps can be helpful, it is recommended to not exceed more than 45 minutes during naps. Taking longer naps can place you into a deeper sleep cycle and often make you feel more tired throughout the day. In addition, it can interfere with your ability to fall asleep during the night. The optimal nap should be about 15 to 20 minutes, but should be done before 3 p.m. to avoid interrupting your full night's rest.
Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Derek, and Dr. Emad is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Stephens would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.

References:

https://worldsleepday.org

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/13/health/10-sleep-commandments-wellness/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/02/health/irregular-sleep-health-risk-wellness/index.html

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