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Why Proper Sleep Habits are Crucial, Part 2

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July 3, 2019

Announcer: Farm & Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: Today, we're continuing our discussion about why proper sleep habits are crucial. Hello, I'm Amy Myers and welcome to Farm & Family. Today, we're speaking with Dr. Lori Staton, Mississippi State University Associate Professor in the School of Human Sciences. Lori, we previously talked about proper sleep habits for newborns on up to adulthood, and the consequences of not achieving those. But, is there any such thing as getting too much sleep, and might that be a sign of?

Lori Staton: Well, we often talk about sleep deficiencies, but sleeping too much is also problematic. We used to think that depression caused people to be tired and sleepy, but we now have longitudinal data show that the relation works both ways. So, meaning that too much sleep, which we consider to be 10 or plus hours, if you do that consistently over time that can actually alter your brain chemistry and cause depression. Research to date shows more connections between oversleeping and mental health problems, whereas sleep deficiencies contributing to more physical health problems.

Amy Myers: What are the dos and don'ts of creating healthy sleep habits for ourselves?

Lori Staton: In addition to the consistency and scheduling routine, there are a number of other things that can actually help you get better sleep. One of the things I think is most important for people to understand is really making sleep our priority. Americans are very much a 24 hour, you're lazy if you sleep, kind of society. We really have to change that mentality because research is showing us that it is so very important that we get the amount of sleep that we need. It's going to impact our daily lives, but also our life expectancy.

As far as what you don't need to do, one of the big things is technology in the bedroom. Many of us are pretty addicted to our cellphones, and I know many people who go to sleep with either the TV on, or the phone in their hand. That can actually disturb our sleep. Also, making sure that the environment is conducive to sleep, so making sure that you're in a cool, quiet, dark room for sleep is really important, and that that environment is only used for sleep. You don't want to do stressful things like pay bills, or study, or work within your bedroom environment, because that really does put a negative association in your brain and could keep you up at night.

Amy Myers: Talk to me about maybe foods and drinks that we shouldn't have, whether we're super young or whether we're older in life. What should we eat or not eat before bed?

Lori Staton: Okay, so obviously one biggie is caffeine. Lots of times people don't realize that things like sweet tea, for instance, have caffeine in them unless you specifically make decaffeinated tea. So, caffeine actually doesn't allow a natural hormone that slows down your nerve cell activity to latch on to that neurotransmitter. It will actually speed up and give you more energy, rather than allow you to slow down and get rest. You can eat things like banana, yogurt, nuts, those kinds of things before bed, and that can actually help facilitate sleep.

Amy Myers: Lori, if we take all the necessary steps and still can't get a good night's sleep, are there any other resources we can refer to?

Lori Staton: If you try to follow the recommended sleep [inaudible 00:03:47] tips, and nothing works after a significant amount of time, and that means that you need to actually practice those for two to four weeks consistently, then you need to speak with your doctor. There are many medications, health problems and sleep disorders that may be the culprit. So, that is something that you should discuss with a medical staff.

Amy Myers: What can we do if we need more information?

Lori Staton: The National Sleep Foundation is a great website. That's

Amy Myers: Does Mississippi State University Extension provide any resources or publications?

Lori Staton: For publications, you can go to

Amy Myers: Thank you so much. Today, we've been speaking with Dr. Lori Staton, Mississippi State University Associate Professor in the School of Human Sciences. I'm Amy Myers, and this has been Farm & Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm & Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Department: School of Human Sciences

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