DES MOINES, Iowa -- Sleep. It’s all something we wish we got more of and a local university wants to help. Des Moines University is one of more than 50 campuses across America partnering with The Huffington Post on the Sleep Revolution College Tour to raise awareness and spark a national conversation about the importance of sleep and the dangers of sleep deprivation.
The tour will feature a panel and conversation with leading sleep experts, discussing the science and psychology of sleep. One of the panelists taking part on Monday is Dr. Melisa Coaker. Dr. Coaker is medical director at Mercy Sleep Center. She took a few minutes out of her day to give us a few tips on getting a better night's sleep.
What will specific areas about sleep will you be talking about Monday?
“Importance of obtaining and maintaining good sleep quality and quantity. Tips to improve sleep quality and quantity, general sleep disorders, relationship between sleep and overall health,” said Dr. Coaker.
What are common issues we have with sleeping?
“Poor quality and quantity. They also have difficulty falling and staying asleep (insomnia), snoring, sleep apnea, poor sleep hygiene,” said Dr. Coaker.
Do you have any tips that you'd recommend for people to get a better night's sleep?
Avoid caffeine after 12 p.m. Avoid clock watching while trying to sleep. Power down and shut off electronics one hour before bedtime. Resolve as many personal/professional conflicts before bedtime. Write down a worry list daily- tasks that need to be completed, so that you don't worry about remembering those tasks while sleeping. Sleep in a comfortable environment- cool, dark, quiet. Incorporate relaxing activities before bedtime. Try to exercise regularly. Maintain early morning light exposure if you sleep at night. Avoid tobacco and alcohol. Seek professional help if you think you may have a sleep disorder,” said Dr. Coaker
What is the magic number for hours of sleep?
“Depends on the individual, but can vary from 7-9 hours per night. Magic number is the number of sleep hours required for an individual to feel well rested,” said Dr. Coaker.
What health risks are associated with not getting enough sleep?
“Many. Most significant is cardiovascular heart disease and stroke. Insufficient sleep can also predispose one to obesity, hypertension, diabetes, depression, peptic ulcer disease, hormonal cancers, motor vehicle accidents, early death, and decreased quality of life,” said Dr. Coaker.
You can find more information about the events being held at DMU as part of The Sleep Revolution College Tour here.