Right At Home ~ Suffering from Insomnia?

Suffer From Insomnia? 

You May Be at Higher Risk for Strokes

posted by Rita Ude on August 18, 2015
by Hilary Young
There are many downsides to missing out on a good night’s sleep – cognitive decline, weight fluctuations and now, according to a research study published in the journal Stroke, higher risk of strokes.
The study examined the sleeping habits and health of more than 80,000 people over the course of four years and found that people who suffer from insomnia were 54 percent more likely to be hospitalized from a stroke than those who had more normal sleeping patterns.
While they couldn’t prove that insomnia causes strokes to occur, the researchers could link insomnia to high blood pressure and blood sugar levels along with inflammation of the arteries – three factors that play major roles in determining the risk of experiencing a stroke.
Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
Many people struggle with sleep at some point in their lives. In recent years, studies have been done about the rise in prescription sleep aids, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the majority of people who are using these drugs are over the age of 80 or in their 50s. But experts agree that prescription sleep pills aren’t necessarily the best solution for troubled sleepers, so before talking to your physician about a prescription, try these all-natural solutions first:
  • Control Your Light Environment. With technology hard to avoid these days, the lights we see from cellphones, computer screens and televisions in the bedroom can disrupt our body’s natural rhythms. It’s best to keep these bright forms of technology out of the bedroom to ensure a good night’s sleep. If you seem to be experiencing light disruptions from outside of your bedroom (like floodlights from a neighbor), it could be worth investing in blackout shades for your room.
  • Practice Meditation. Many sleep problems stem back to not being able to quiet a busy mind, but meditation can assist in accomplishing this. The key to meditation is finding time every day to sit still and be quiet. Over time, you will learn to drown out negative thoughts and find inner peace. One thing to note – achieving a successful meditation really does take practice and discipline!
  • Avoid Caffeine in the Afternoon. Caffeine is a great resource for helping us wake up in the mornings, but if you are a coffee lover, it’s a habit that literally can keep you up at night. Most sleep experts recommend cutting off your caffeine supply in the early afternoon, no later than 2 p.m. If you can’t live without an evening cup of joe, try switching to decaf!
  • Exercise Regularly. Studies have shown that roughly “150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week, which is the national guideline, provided a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality.” While exercise can give your metabolism and energy levels a boost immediately afterwards, it also can help you sleep more soundly at night. The key is to exercise in the late afternoon, or at least three hours before you hit the hay.
Better Sleep, Better You
Sleep is essential for living a long and healthy life. Learning how to get your insomnia or sleep disruptions under control now can have positive long-term effects, including keeping your risk of stroke down.
“I think sleep is underrated in terms of its power, in how much healing occurs while you are sleeping,” said Dr. Demetrius Lopes, Director of the Interventional Cerebrovascular Center at Rush University in Chicago, Ill., and a spokesman for the American Heart Association. “Sleep helps the body coordinate blood pressure, manage hormones and reduce stress.”
If you happen to be feeling a little more stress than usual because you are caring for a loved one, contact Right at Home for information on respite care so you can sleep a little easier at night.