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SiG MT 88 TO YOUR HEALTH TEXT BY BENEFIS HEALTH SYSTEM S MT Something we can all agree on is that sleep is key to improving our overall health and achieving optimal wellness. Sleep impacts your risks for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and infection. And because you're human, you already know how sleep impacts your mood, your mind's ability to function, your body's ability to push through your waking hours, and your capacity for managing stress. A Sleep Expert Offers Tips on How to Get Better Sleep To support our community's health, there's a new sleep lab in town, led by sleep specialist Dr. Tim Roux and conveniently located on Benefis Central Campus in Great Falls. Dr. Roux has been practicing sleep medicine for 14 years. With the opening of the new, full-service, three-bed facility, patients can do their follow-ups and receive treatment for all types of sleep disorders. e lab is certified by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. What can someone learn from a session at the sleep lab? From the 20 channels of information obtained on a polysomnogram (sleep study), we can ascertain your total sleep time, overall efficiency of sleep, stages of sleep, and position of sleep. We also measure your heart rhythm, oxygen saturation levels, and can determine whether you have disorders such as a sleep breathing disorder, narcolepsy, or periodic limb movement disorder. How long should it take someone to fall asleep? On average, it should take about 20 minutes to fall asleep. If you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, you are sleep deprived – either from an underlying sleep disorder or insufficient sleep syndrome. If it takes you much longer than approximately 30 minutes to fall asleep, you wonder about insomnia. A behavioral intervention is generally the best way to treat insomnia, and you can use an online application called CBT-I coach, which is available on most smartphones. Validated studies show this has been an effective way to treat insomnia. How many hours should we strive to sleep each night? Every domain of our health worsens with fewer than six to six- and-a-half hours of sleep per night. ere are individuals who swear they need only three or four hours of sleep; however, studies indicate the amount of people who can perform psychomotor vigilance testing with normal performance metrics is actually rounded to zero percent. Ridiculously few people can operate on fewer than six hours of sleep per night. What are some of the sleep tips you swear by? ere are three pillars to improving sleep: 1. Control stimulation at night. You should avoid nicotine and alcohol for at least four hours before bed, and caffeine should be avoided closer to eight hours before bed. Your lit screens such as those on computers, smartphones, and televisions should be turned off at least an hour or two before bed. 2. Keep a consistent waking time. is is the anchor for our bodies' natural rhythms and helps prevent something called social jet leg. Teenagers who stay up late in the evening and sleep late in the morning can develop a syndrome similar to jet lag – they feel sleepy during the normal waking hours and alert during what is considered to be the normal sleeping time. 3. Get out of bed. When you have difficulty falling or staying asleep at night, restrict your time in bed. Staying in bed never works. Dr. Tim Roux

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