I have asked before on this site, “How did you sleep?”, because I may be even more convinced than you are on the benefits of sleeping well. In fact, sleep problems are among the most commonly cited reasons for seeking medical attention. We all know that we feel better when we get a good night of z’s, and medical researchers know there is more benefit than that.
Sleeping well (soundly, deeply, mostly uninterrupted, 7-9 hours a night in a dark room) confers numerous health benefits. Recent attention has been on sleep’s help in weight control, quality of life, mood, and prevention of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. New research adds cardiovascular protection to the list of sleep’s rewards. Folks sleeping less than 6 hours or waking unrefreshed have a 65% increased risk of cardiovascular disease, compared to optimal sleepers.
Now that we are all paying close attention, the question remains: how does one get a good night of sleep? Research has showed increased mortality among those who regularly use antihistamines or sleeping pills to achieve uninterrupted shuteye, so we are much better off finding those natural methods that work the best. Of course, we are each unique, so experiment with the possibilities and find what works for you.