How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

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How much sleep do you really need?


Featuring: Dr. Dwayne Henry

Research shows that one-third of adults don’t get enough sleep at night, but how much is enough?

The old axiom about getting eight hours per night is now outdated, says Dwayne Henry, MD, a specialist in sleep medicine at Our Lady of the Lake. Some people need slightly more, some slightly less. “It’s based on a bell curve,” he says.

Dr. Henry now advises that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep, with seven hours being the minimum.

“As we get older we sleep less during the night, with most older people sleeping about six hours per night,” Dr. Henry says.

Medically, sleep deprivation has been linked to depression, mood disorders, anger, diabetes and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. There is also currently research looking at the relation between sleep deprivation and obesity.

Lack of adequate sleep can lead to unrecognized issues including slowed reaction time, decreased memory, and thought/concentration impairment. Studies show sleep-deprived adults perform worse than individuals who are legally intoxicated, meaning a blood-alcohol level of less than 0.08 percent.

But there’s good news. There are some basic steps you can take to improve the amount and quality of your sleep. These include:

  • Practicing good sleep hygiene. Sleep in a cool, dark room free from electronics including cell phones and televisions.
  • Reducing stress. Exercise, practice progressive relaxation and meditate.
  • Setting consistent sleep and wake times. Wake up at the same time every day, and go to be at the same time every night.
  • Avoiding caffeinated drinks six hours prior to bedtime. Also, try to stop smoking, and don’t consume alcohol prior to sleep.

For more information, or to schedule a consultation today, contact Our Lady of the Lake Sleep Center at (225) 765-8938.

About Dr. Dwayne Henry

Henry, Dwayne D_SquareDr. Henry specializes in sleep medicine at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center where he is director of Sleep Medicine. He received his medical degree from St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine in Grand Cayman, British West Indies. He then completed his residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Henry completed a Fellowship in pediatric nephrology at the University of Florida, followed by a Fellowship in sleep medicine at the University of Alabama Birmingham.

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