Proper sleep impacts mental, physical health

A good night’s sleep is important for everyone, but the true benefits of a restful night for people’s minds and health is sometimes misunderstood and under-appreciated.

Signs of poor sleep hygiene may include frequent sleep disturbances, daytime sleepiness and taking a long time to fall asleep. Studies have linked poor sleep to depression, obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Research has demonstrated that exposure to blue light emitted from electronics in the evening disrupts the brain’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Blue light tricks the brain into thinking it is daytime, which may reduce the quantity and quality of sleep.

In addition to good sleeping habits, it is also important to know how much sleep a person should get at each stage in life. Lori Staton, Extension sleep specialist and associate professor in the MSU School of Human Sciences, said that infants need a considerable amount of sleep during the day because they are growing and developing at a rapid pace.

“Newborns are learning to consolidate their sleep, so initially their sleep is throughout the day and may be in small increments,” Staton said. “As we grow, our sleep becomes more consolidated in the night, with many children not participating in napping by the age of 5 years.”

Dr. Staton joined Rebecca Turner on Good Things and shared tips to getting a better night sleep.