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Mar 07 2018

Sleep innovation driving healthier days

Welcome to this eHealth guest blog, where we explore how through connected devices, connected communities and connected health solutions, we can be healthier together.  For additional stories from Nokia Health check out our Health Blog.

 

The new year has always been a time for resolutions, many of which are about living healthier—eating better, exercising more, quitting smoking, and so on. But often overlooked is the importance of a good night’s sleep to your overall health.

Is getting a good night’s sleep really that important?

Yes, it is. Sleep activates complex processes in the body that help you feel rested and healthy the next day. In the short run, depriving yourself of the restorative effects of sleep can lead to an impaired memory, weight gain, poor judgement, delayed reactions, and an increase in the stress hormone cortisol. Over a longer period, it can have a much more serious impact. The effects of ongoing sleep deficiency have been linked to the increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke according to the National Institutes of Health.

So, what’s the upside of all this pillow time?

With so many demands on our waking selves, it’s easy to view sleep as a big block of unproductive time. That’s a common mistake. Research suggests that sleep is critical for brain maintenance, as it washes away chemical waste and neurotoxins that can otherwise have a greater degenerative effect. Getting quality sack time leaves you with a general sense of well-being and can help you have more energy, focus, and concentration so you’re more effective during the day. In fact, doubling down on sleep can be one of the fastest and easiest ways to improve your overall quality of life.

Didn’t realize how important good sleep is? You’re not alone

Messages about the dangers of high sodium, cholesterol, bovine antibiotics, pesticides, sugar, and more have saturated the consciousness of the public. But sleep has largely been overlooked and many people remain uninformed. I see it all the time—patients with a litany of medical issues that could all be related to poor sleep.

In fact, just recently, a patient was referred to my sleep clinic who had hypertension (for which he took three medications), obesity, diabetes (on insulin and an oral medication), as well as a history of a heart attack, stroke, depression, and reflux disease. When I asked him why he had come to see me, his reply was, “I have no clue besides the fact that I don’t sleep very well.” When I explained to the patient that ALL of his medical issues could be related to poor sleep, his reply was, “I had no idea.”

Sleeping beauty

Over the last few years, there have been great strides in engaging the public’s awareness about sleep. Researchers are learning more all the time and there has been a big surge in technology designed to help people monitor, understand, and improve their sleep.

Integrated products represent a new generation of sleep monitors. By pulling multiple sources of personal information from connected devices (sleep, movement, heart rate, weight, etc.), can generate a customized plan for improving sleep. Feedback about sleep consistency, exercise, and even home lighting and temperature is also incorporated to suggest real steps to improve sleep. Even snoring, a common disruption that can lead to poor quality sleep, headaches, and eventually heart disease, can be detected by your smartphone microphone and tracked tracked over time.

New health technologies represent a giant step towards improving our awareness, understanding, and appreciation for the restorative power of a good night’s sleep.

And that is indeed a thing of beauty.

 

Want to learn more about how you can know your nights, so you can master your days?

Visit our Nokia Sleep page and check our Nokia Sleep Tracking products.

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks using #teamnokia #KnowYourself #TeamSleep

About Dr. W. Christopher Winter

Dr. W. Christopher Winter is board certified in sleep medicine by both the American Board of Sleep Medicine and by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He is also board certified in Neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He recently published his first book, The Sleep Solution, Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How To Fix It.

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