Health For All

Providence Health Plan’s Dr. Paul Giger discusses good sleep hygiene

16 April 2024

Did you know that people spend approximately one-third of their lives asleep? That's a significant portion of time, making it important to make sure those hours are as rejuvenating as possible. At Providence Health Plan (PHP), we know the profound impact that quality sleep can have on overall well-being. Sleep isn't only a state of rest; it's crucial to maintaining a person’s mental and physical health. 

Paul Giger, MD, Director of Behavioral Health at PHP, emphasizes the idea of "sleep hygiene" – the practice of cultivating healthy sleep habits – as the key to unlocking the benefits of quality sleep. 

According to Giger, adults should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night, while younger individuals may require even more to support their growing and changing bodies. Establishing a consistent wake-up time is crucial, as it helps regulate the body's internal clock and promotes a more natural sleep-wake cycle. Giger warns against the temptation to oversleep, as it can disrupt this delicate balance and lead to difficulty falling asleep at night. 

Where you sleep matters just as much as when you sleep. Giger recommends creating a sleep environment that is dark, quiet, and cool, which makes it easier to relax and get uninterrupted rest. If you are unable to fall asleep after a long time, he suggests temporarily leaving the bedroom and engaging in a calming activity until you feel drowsy.

While certain habits can promote quality sleep, others can hinder it. Giger advises against consuming caffeine after noon, as it can interfere with the body's ability to wind down in the evening. Additionally, he cautions against the use of naps or sleep medication, explaining that they can disrupt the body's natural sleep patterns and lead to dependency over time.

Research indicates that poor sleep isn't just a minor inconvenience – it can have far-reaching consequences for overall health. Elevated stress hormones, such as cortisol, associated with inadequate sleep can contribute to issues like weight gain and metabolic disturbances. Recognizing the interconnectedness of sleep and health, Giger encourages individuals who have struggled with poor sleep for an extended period to seek professional guidance.

At PHP, we're committed to promoting holistic well-being, and that includes supporting healthy sleep habits. By incorporating the insights shared by Dr. Giger and embracing the principles of good sleep hygiene, individuals can unlock the transformative power of restorative sleep. Join us in the journey toward better sleep and better health – because when we prioritize sleep, we prioritize our well-being.

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