Get Fit: Sleep more for a healthier you

When it comes to our health, we all think first about our weight, and secondly about the food we eat.

But there's a lot more to our health than that.

Tuesday's Get Fit pledge is to get eight hours sleep a night.

If sleeping hasn't been on your priority list, then you should hear what the experts have to say about it.

"yYur mind needs it's rest at night so we can function through the day. Your body needs rest," respiratory therapist Andrea Helmer told 14 News.

Helmer says sleep isn't a priority in most people's lives but it should be.

Long-term insufficient sleep can increase your odds of diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease, and even weight gain.

So how much sleep should you get? Helmer says an adult should get an average of about seven and a half to eight hours sleep.

Sleeping hours increase significantly in children and teens.

"13-years-old is a cutoff, they should get at least nine to 10 hours, and that increases the younger the child is," Helmer explained.

If you're not getting seven and a half to eight hours sleep, and your young children aren't getting 10 hours, here's what you should do.

1. Have a quiet sleep environment.  No TV in the bedroom, no computer in the bedroom and turn off outside lights.
2. Set the mood for sleep by making your bedroom a quiet, dark place.
3. Try to go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time every morning. 4. Stop napping.
5. Don't drink caffeine before bed.
6. Stretch a little before you go to bed.
7. Sip your wine sooner, rather than later in the evening.

If you have done all of the above and still have trouble sleeping, you may suffer from a condition called sleep apnea.

Thursday on 14 News at 4:00, we'll show you how doctors diagnose sleep apnea.

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