INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – New information shows how important sleep is, and what happens to your body if you don’t get enough of it.
Getting the right amount of time of this is hard for some people.
“I try to get seven, at least six to seven hours, and I feel as though I’m pretty lucky getting that amount,” Indiana resident Samuel Barnes said.
“I probably get more around six hours. I’m more of a night owl,” Westfield resident Daniel Gaynor said. “Probably at least seven hours,” Fishers resident Zoe Frisby said.
It’s a crucial step health experts say neighbors need to make.
“Without sleep you can’t function,” Gaynor said. “You get cranky and all that stuff and other side effects.”
It’s a major attitude shift that Community Health Network’s Sleep Disorder Center Director Hany Haddad said has come in the past few years.
“People more aware of sleep,” Haddad said. “Before it was considered a nuisance. You have to do it so you can function in the daytime, but now we know how important to function.”
Haddad has studied the subject for more than three decades.
“A little bit too long,” Haddad said. “I may be one of the original sleep specialists in the area.”
Haddad said it’s not just people learning more about sleep, but experts as well. As more people undergo studies, they’re discovering the health risks.
Haddad said losing sleep can lead to short term memory loss, high blood pressure, heart disease, and strokes.
“Your mood, your ability to lose weight,” Haddad said. “There’s data recently about if we don’t sleep adequate amount of hours, we want to crave junk food.”
To avoid those issues, here’s how much sleep the CDC said people should get. For adults, it’s seven to nine hours. For teens, it’s eight to eleven hours. A child should sleep ten to 13 hours. A baby should sleep 12 to 16 hours a day.
“During sleep, not only do we rest our body, we rest our brain,” Haddad said. “That’s the time when the brain conserves energy, and also we re-function, or reset.”
If you’re struggling to doze, Haddad said you go to bed, and wake up around the same time. Avoid late large meals and afternoon caffeine. Also, lower the temperature, make your room as dark, fluff your pillow and most important of all, put down the phone.
“At least, preferably, one hour before bedtime you have to have timeout,” Haddad said. “Especially in younger adults.”
If you want to monitor your sleep, new gadgets and apps make it simple. You can wear a watch, use your smartphone or tablet, or you can go old school. The CDC has a sleep diary which you write information for two weeks to help your doctor.
“Don’t follow it on a nightly basis,” Haddad said, “I don’t want you to be thinking about it all the time. Hypochondria is a problem in sleep.”
It’s an evolving topic that’s reaching neighbors.
“You don’t look as good if you don’t sleep,” Gaynor said.
But experts say the cheating sleep can do a whole lot more than ruin a good hair day.
“Sleep as important as the air your breath, and the food you eat,” Haddad said.
Haddad says that is more important than any social media post.