The fast pace of modern life sometimes makes it difficult to stop and rest. It can make getting a good night's sleep on a consistent basis seem impossible.
However, sleep is just as important for health as diet and exercise. Sleep enhances brain performance, mood, and health.
Not getting enough quality sleep on a regular basis increases the risk of a variety of diseases and disorders. These include everything from heart disease and stroke to obesity and dementia.
According to Dr. Marishka Brown, an NIH sleep expert, good sleep is more than just the hours spent in bed. "Three major things are involved in healthy sleep," she explains. "The first is how much sleep you get. Another factor is sleep quality, which is the amount of uninterrupted and refreshing sleep you get.
If you have trouble sleeping, hearing how important it is may be discouraging. Simple things, however, can improve your chances of getting a good night's sleep. See the Wise Choices section for daily sleep tips.
Many common sleep disorders have treatments available. Many people who suffer from insomnia can benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy. Some people can also benefit from medications.
Many people who have sleep apnea benefit from using a CPAP machine. These devices keep your airway open so you can breathe. Other treatments may include custom mouthguards and a change in lifestyle.