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Tips for Better Sleep and Brain Health

Steps to Overcoming Teenage Anger

Not so great times…

The brain has at least three levels of functions that affect all aspects of our daily lives:

  • interpretation of your senses
  • controls your movement
  • maintenance of cognitive, mental, and emotional processes
  • maintenance of normal behavior and social cognition

Sleep affects almost every type of tissue and system in the body – from the brain, heart, and lungs to metabolism, immune function, mood, and disease resistance. Research shows that a chronic lack of sleep, or getting poor quality sleep, increases the risk of disorders including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity.

This week is Sleep and Brain Health Week.
​Here are a few tips for better sleep and brain health.

According to the CDC here are some habits that can improve your sleep health:

  • Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends
  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature
  • Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones, from the bedroom
  • Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime
  • Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.

Ongoing sleep deficits can take a considerable toll on the brain. More than 60 percent of Americans report their sleep needs aren’t being met during a typical week. Illness, psychological distress, and medication can all interfere with adequate sleep. The normal physiological changes as you age. No wonder that older adults commonly complain of insomnia.
Need more Support…Try these:

  • Reduce blue light exposure in the evening

Wear glasses that block blue light
Download an app such as f.lux to block blue light on your laptop or computer.
Install an app that blocks blue light on your smartphone. These are available for both iPhones and Android models.
Stop watching TV and turn off any bright lights 2 hours before heading to bed.

  • Take a melatonin supplement

Melatonin is a key sleep hormone that tells your brain when it’s time to relax and head to bed. Often used to treat insomnia, melatonin may be one of the easiest ways to fall asleep faster

In one study, taking 2 mg of melatonin before bed improved sleep quality and energy the next day and helped people fall asleep faster.

  • Rule out a sleep disorder

One common issue is sleep apnea, which causes inconsistent and interrupted breathing. People with this disorder stop breathing repeatedly while sleeping

This condition may be more common than you think. One review claimed that 24% of men and 9% of women have sleep apnea

Other common medically diagnosed issues include sleep movement disorders and circadian rhythm sleep/wake disorders, which are common in shift workers.

If you’ve always struggled with sleep, it may be wise to consult your healthcare provider.


Urban Health Group LLC is a boutique-style, concierge for healthcare navigation and mental health support based in Oakland, California. We empower Black Indigenous People of Color (B.I.P.O.C.) with tools and support to effectively navigate their health and mental health needs for better wellness.  We are eliminating healthcare disparities and reducing healthcare biases head on through strategic partnerships.

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Sources:
Figueiro MG, Wood B, Plitnick B, Rea MS. The impact of light from computer monitors on melatonin levels in college students. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2011;32(2):158-63. PMID: 21552190.

van Geijlswijk IM, Mol RH, Egberts TC, Smits MG. Evaluation of sleep, puberty and mental health in children with long-term melatonin treatment for chronic idiopathic childhood sleep onset insomnia. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2011 Jul;216(1):111-20. doi: 10.1007/s00213-011-2202-y. Epub 2011 Feb 22. PMID: 21340475; PMCID: PMC3111733.

Young T, Skatrud J, Peppard PE. Risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea in adults. JAMA. 2004 Apr 28;291(16):2013-6. doi: 10.1001/jama.291.16.2013. PMID: 15113821.

Young T, Palta M, Dempsey J, Skatrud J, Weber S, Badr S. The occurrence of sleep-disordered breathing among middle-aged adults. N Engl J Med. 1993 Apr 29;328(17):1230-5. doi: 10.1056/NEJM199304293281704. PMID: 8464434.

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-science-of-sleep-understanding-what-happens-when-you-sleep#:~:text=The%20first%20part%20of%20the,fourth%20stages%20are%20deep%20sleep.

https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-tips-to-sleep-better#2.-Reduce-blue-light-exposure-in-the-evening

https://www.brainandlife.org/articles/could-getting-more-high-quality-sleep-protect-the-brain/

 

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