The nugget. (Sisters, Or.) 1994-current, January 27, 2021, Page 14, Image 14

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Wednesday, January 27, 2021 The Nugget Newspaper, Sisters, Oregon
Sleep is key to vitality and good health
By Jim Cornelius
Editor in Chief
When it comes to health and well-
being nothing is more important than
sleep. Consistent, sufficient qual-
ity sleep is critical to our mental and
physical health; in fact, it9s literally a
matter of life and death.
In a society that prizes productiv-
ity, the <down time= that sleep repre-
sents has not been held in very high
<Historically, we9ve been pretty
callous about it,= said Dr. David
Dedrick, medical director for St.
Charles Health System9s Sleep Center.
For many, it9s a point of pride
to get by on little sleep; a mentality
expressed by the late, great Warren
Zevon: <I9ll sleep when I9m dead.= In
reality, if you don9t get enough sleep,
chances are you will be dead, before
your time.
Recent research makes it clear:
sleep is vital and nothing to be fooled
around with.
<The field has made some just
stunning movement in terms of just
understanding the physiological
importance of sleep,= Dr. Dedrick
said. <The wheels, quite simply come
off the cart when you don9t get the
right amount of sleep& It9s really
irrefutable at this point in time.=
Our brains and bodies flush toxic
metabolites as we sleep, and sleep is
when we tend to our DNA. Inadequate
sleep can exacerbate high blood pres-
sure and depression, alter our mood
for the worse, make us more impul-
sive 4 and research shows that
chronic inadequate sleep shortens our
So how much sleep do we need?
<You really want to be getting
around seven (hours) 4 in the ball-
park,= Dr. Dedrick said.
Anything less than six hours a day
is problematic.
<People will trick themselves: 8I
do fine with five hours of sleep,9= he
said. <They9re not.=
How do you ensure that you get
those seven hours, night after night?
<We have to follow the rules,= Dr.
Dedrick said. <And, unfortunately, the
rules are boring.=
Those rules are:
" Maximum of one alcoholic drink,
no closer than four hours before
" Limit caffeine consumption and
stay away from it in the afternoon.
" Stay off screens for several hours
before bedtime.
Little devils of alcohol and
Alcohol is seductive, because, as
a sedative, it makes us sleepy. But
alcohol is a drug, and its effects are
insidious. Withdrawal, which happens
later in the sleep cycle, creates agita-
tion, wakefulness, and anxiety.
<(Alcohol) might be the number
one offender in sleep problems,= Dr.
Dedrick said. <Because one thing
we9re doing more of during the pan-
demic is drinking. And it9s not helping
us when it comes to sleep.=
Most people recognize that a cup
of coffee late in the day is not a good
idea. Caffeine can persist in the body
for as much as six hours.
We9re less cognizant of how much
our addiction to our phones affects our
sleep. The light stimulation throws off
our circadian rhythms, Dr. Dedrick
notes. Those are the physical cues that
let us know that it9s time to go to sleep.
It9s not just the light that causes a
problem though. The content of what
See SLEEP on page 23
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