Are you getting ‘junk sleep’?

Are you getting ‘junk sleep’?

You already know that junk food can cause you health problems. But “junk sleep” is gaining popularity, and chances are you probably have experienced it yourself.

“Junk sleep” is a term being used for sleep that does not result in feeling rested and is lacking quality. If you find yourself falling asleep with the TV on, overheating under the covers, snoring or you are experiencing joint pain, you may not feel as rested the next day.

“Quality sleep is 7-9 hours long and leaves you feeling energized the next day,” says Dr. Yelena Tumashova, director of sleep medicine at Advocate Health Care. “Sleep plays a vital role in keeping our entire body healthy and properly functioning.”

Some signs of inadequate sleep include:

  • Feeling groggy after sleeping
  • The inability to focus
  • Feeling irritable
  • Headaches
  • Lack of motivation

To improve your sleep, Dr. Tumashova recommends:

  • Setting a consistent sleep schedule – Try to wake up and go to bed at the same time each day.
  • Turning off your electronics prior to bedtime – This includes TVs, laptops, smartphones and speakers.
  • Getting daily physical activity – Exercise not only helps you fall asleep but also improves the quality of sleep.
  • Eating a balanced, diet – Avoid caffeine, alcohol and heavy meals before sleeping.
  • Setting your thermostat to your desired sleeping temperature – The best temperature for sleeping is 65 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
  • Limiting naps – Napping later in the day can disrupt your REM cycle that night, increasing the chances of insomnia.
  • Trying relaxation techniques while falling asleep – This is especially helpful for those who need help winding down and putting their worries at bay.

“We sleep about 30% of our lives, so if you are 30 years old, you have slept almost 10 years,” explains Dr. Tumashova. “Sleep is all about quality. Poor quality of sleep can be a result of untreated sleep apnea.”

If you have trouble sleeping, inform your primary care doctor so they can refer you to a sleep specialist for testing and treatment.

Do you have trouble sleeping? Learn more about sleep apnea by taking a free online quiz.

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About the Author

Anna Kohler
Anna Kohler

Anna Kohler, health enews contributor, is a public affairs specialist for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She received her Bachelor of Science in public relations from Illinois State University and has worked in healthcare public relations for over three years. In her free time, she enjoys working out, exploring new places with her friends and family and keeping up with the latest trends.