Archives for Meth-Wick Community

Overcoming the stigma of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis

Alzheimer’s disease affects millions of people and their loved ones every year. There are some genetic factors that may increase a person’s likelihood but for the most part, it can strike anyone and there is no cure, yet.

With such a uncertain outcome, it makes sense why so many people misunderstand the disease and the people it affects. The stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s prevents people experiencing symptoms from seeking medical treatment, developing a support system, benefitting from early diagnosis and treatment, and living the best quality of life possible.

Here’s some tips from the Alzheimer’s Association for overcoming the stigma you and your loved ones may face after diagnosis.

  1. Be open and direct.
    Engage others in discussions about Alzheimer’s disease and the need for prevention, better treatment and an eventual cure. Engage with others like you on message boards.
  2. Communicate the facts.
    Sharing accurate information is key to dispelling misconceptions about the disease. Whether a pamphlet or link to online content, offer information to help people better understand Alzheimer’s disease. Learn the facts about Alzheimer’s and find an education program near you.
  3. Seek support and stay connected.
    It is important to stay engaged in meaningful relationships and activities. Whether family, friends or a support group, a network is critical.
    Contact your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter about an early-stage support group near you.
  4. Don’t be discouraged.
    Denial of the disease by others is not a reflection of you. If people think that Alzheimer’s disease is normal aging, see it as an education opportunity.
    Tips for helping family and friends.
  5. Be a part of the solution.
    As an individual living with the disease, yours is the most powerful voice to help raise awareness, end stigma and advocate for more Alzheimer’s support and research. Learn how you can take action in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

Meth-Wick understands the difficult situation families are in when a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. That’s why we have Arbor Place, assisted living on our campus dedicated solely to residents with memory needs.

The safe and secure facility practices a standard of care that recent research indicates will afford the greatest benefit to people with cognitive losses: provide small groups of people with a quiet, family-style home where they feel safe and are encouraged to take part in wellness and recreation programs that promote quality of life. Arbor Place’s high caregiver-to-resident ratio ensures each resident receives the individualized attention they need.

Are you seeing the right doctor?

A routine yearly exam is an integral part of preventive medicine. You can work with your doctor to identify problems before they develop further, which is especially important as you age. But are you seeing a doctor that fits your needs? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you trust your doctor?
  • Do you communicate well with each other?
  • Do you trust and communicate well with their staff?
  • Do they have experience with older adults and the health problems they typically face?

If your answer to any of these questions is no, it may be time to look for a new physician. Doctors know that different patients require diverse attention and care, so don’t feel guilty striking out in a new direction.

Whether you’re new in town or are simply looking for a different set of skills, here’s a few things the National Institute on Aging wants older adults to keep in mind.

  1. Set priorities

What matters to you? Good communication? Do you want a doctor who specializes in older adults? Do you need your doctor’s office to be near work or home? Do you want to be at a private practice or a larger hospital system? Decide which issues are most important for you and make a list of providers in the area that fit your search terms.

  1. Ask around

Good doctors have good reputations. Ask family and friends which doctor they see and what they like about them. Find out what your trusted confidants like about their doctor and ways they could improve. Conversely, find out if family and friends would put a red flag on any of the names on your list.

  1. Consider your health insurance

If you are part of a managed care plan like a health maintenance organization or a preferred provider organization, you’ll need to confirm your new doctor is in your network or risk paying “out-of-network” fees.

  1. Consult references

Make sure the names on your list are properly certified by checking the databases linked below. Call your local or state medical board as well to see if any of your finalists have a history of complaints from former patients.

Where to cross-reference your list:

You can also make an appointment to talk with the doctors you are considering. Most will charge you for their time, but it’s a good exercise to determine if you could work well together. Ask them questions like:

  • Do you have many older patients?
  • How do you feel about involving my family in care decisions?
  • Can I call or email you or your staff when I have questions? Do you charge for telephone or email time?
  • What are your thoughts about complementary or alternative treatments?
  1. Make a decision

Did you have good rapport with the doctor? Did you feel listened to and comfortable asking questions? If you answered yes, then you’ve found the right person. Set up an appointment, have your patient history transferred to your new doctor’s office, and inform them of any medications you are currently taking.

Make sure your doctor is the right person to walk with you in every stage of life. As your needs change, be sure you have a doctor who makes you feel comfortable and heard.

 

Top 4 Reasons A Life Plan Community Is Right For You

The boomer generation has changed what it means to be an older adult. You shop differently, save differently and live differently than any generation before you. So, as you transition into the next chapter of life, consider whether a Life Plan Community might be the right move.

What is a Life Plan Community?

Life shows that our communities are about so much more than care; they are about living life to the fullest.

Plan captures the unique “safety net” advantages that Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CRCC) offer through a continuum of health-related services.

Community means connectedness. It’s where “planning” and “living” merge and allow for living life to the fullest.

Formerly known as a CRCC, a Life Plan Community is a residential community that offers more than one level of care on a single campus, has a focus on active lifestyles, and is integrated into the community. At Meth-Wick, you see the Life Plan Community philosophy in action. We have five different styles of living from independent living to skilled nursing care so that when you make the move to Meth-Wick, you will have the care you need no matter what life brings.

  1. Stay independent and in control

Meth-Wick offers a variety of condos, apartments and even single-family homes for residents who prefer to live independently. This keeps you in your home longer – where we know you prefer to be.

  1. Protect yourself and your family

By putting a plan in place today for the next stage of your life, you relieve your family from decision making during stressful times.

  1. Make a smart financial decision

Life Plan Communities typically have an entrance fee and monthly fees. This structure stabilizes costs as you only pay for what you need, when you need it, removing many of the unknowns of retirement planning.

  1. Never move again

Moving to Meth-Wick means that you may not have to move again as you or your spouse’s needs change. Resident Connie Proffitt and her husband Russell moved into a condo at Deer Ridge when they came to Meth-Wick. Connie was able to care for her husband and arrange for in-home care from Meth-Wick Home & Health when she needed to run errands or be out of the house for a few hours. Rather than having to move him to assisted living, the couple was able to spend Russell’s last years together in their home.

Over the past several decades, what it means to be an older adult has changed. So, we’ve changed with it. Our Life Plan Community is a place where you can live life on your terms, whatever they may be.

How to ‘Leave A Legacy’ at Meth-Wick

Meth-Wick was established in 1959 through thoughtful planning and a charitable gift. Local philanthropist Barthinius L. Wick wanted to create a place where older adults could live together in a community so he set aside funds and a set of instructions in his trust. After he passed, his gift was paired with the expertise of the United Methodist Church to build Meth-Wick Community as we know it today.

Mr. Wick had a clear set of values throughout his life. He prioritized his community, promoted philanthropy and respected the dignity of every person. Those values were crystalized in his great final project – Meth-Wick Community. Although he didn’t live to see his plans become a reality, his dedicated trustees and well-written estate plan built a campus and community that residents will cherish for generations to come.

October is Leave A Legacy month at Meth-Wick. This month, we are asking our residents to think like Mr. Wick. What would you like your legacy to be at Meth-Wick?

Give a gift that reflects what’s important to you. Do you enjoy sitting by the koi pond? Consider donating a bench to place nearby. Do you look forward to the changing leaves on campus every fall? Think about donating a tree that will be marveled at by future generations. If it matters to you, we want it to be a part of the Meth-Wick story.

  1. Living Unit Refund – With one simple form and a quick visit to Teresa Dusil you can direct – after your lifetime – all or a percentage of your living unit refund to Meth-Wick. This refund provides an easy way to share your values with Meth-Wick without disturbing your existing estate plans.
  1. Stock or Securities – There are favorable tax rules in place for those who wish to donate long-term stock or securities (owned for at least a year) that has appreciated in value. The donor doesn’t have to pay capital gains on the appreciated stock or security and there is no need to obtain an appraisal.
  1. Cash – A cash gift is a straightforward and tax-deductible donation option.
  1. Real Estate – By donating real estate, the donor is able to forego the costs associated with maintaining, selling or passing down property and contribute to Meth-Wick’s mission.
  1. IRA Assets – The IRA charitable rollover was renewed and made permanent by Congress in 2015. This provision allows individuals aged 70½ years to donate up to $100,000 from their IRA directly to charity without treating it as taxable income.
  1. Charitable Gift Annuity – By purchasing a charitable gift annuity from Meth-Wick, you give away a lump sum and receive quarterly interest payments on that amount for the rest of your life. The rate of interest depends on the donor’s age.
  1. Donate to the endowment fund – A percentage of income from these funds is used to pay for free or discounted care for residents who have exhausted their funds through no fault of their own. The principal in the fund is never touched, only the interest it produces. The generous support of the Meth-Wick endowment guarantees that the compassion displayed at Meth-Wick today will be continued for decades to come.

As you can see, donations can come in many forms. Spend some time thinking about which type of gift best communicates your values. We are grateful to our generous donors for allowing us to continue Mr. Wick’s legacy for years to come.

Please consult your financial professional for to determine the gift best suited to your financial needs. If you have any questions, please contact Teresa Dusil at (319) 297-8603 or tjkdusil@methwick.org.

Good Food Choices Build a Good Immune System

Although homecoming parades and football games signal the arrival of fall, they also mark the beginning of the dreaded flu and cold season. But have no fear: we’re here to offer a few pointers on how to mount a strong defense against these common illnesses.

While most everyone knows the importance of a flu shot, less well known is the immune-bolstering advantage offered by certain foods.

Choose plant-based foods

An article on livestrong.com stresses the importance of embracing a plant-based diet over an animal-based one. Plant-based foods have phytonutrients, which studies have shown lower the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Papaya and pineapple have an additional benefit: they contain an enzyme that helps break down and dissolve debris produced by the body as it fights infections.

A second livestrong.com article outlines a plan for boosting your immune system. With more than 200 viruses responsible for colds and other respiratory infections, the best defense against a cold (or the flu) is to have an immune system that is strong and can overcome a viral or bacterial assault.

The best strategy for building up your immune system is to eat a variety of foods. Let’s take a trip through the grocery store to get plenty of ideas for stocking our shelves and fridge.

Sardines

The world seems to be split into those who love sardines and those who would refuse to eat them even when bribed with large sums of money. If you are in the second group, you may want to learn to like them. Sardines are much higher in omega-3 fats, which reduce the risk of heart disease and cell-damaging body inflammation, than other fish. There are 1,259 milligrams of omega-3s in a three-ounce serving of canned sardines, 905 milligrams in rainbow trout, 840 milligrams in salmon and 196 milligrams in canned tuna. Go sardines!

Yellow Bell Pepper

Move over oranges. Make room for yellow bell peppers, a terrific source of immune-boosting vitamin C. According to the article, research shows that vitamin C is especially important to building a healthy immune in older adults and children.

Mushrooms

While all mushrooms are rich in B vitamins and antioxidants, nutritionist Jackie Newgent says that two are especially important. “Maitake and shiitake mushrooms, in particular, contain plant nutrients that seem to have immune-boosting ability.”

Citrus fruits

Eating oranges and other citrus fruit on a regular basis is vital to building a healthy immune system. They are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant, which fights cell-damaging free radicals.

Say ‘no’ to sugar and dairy

Added sugars can weaken your immune system. If you do catch a cold or the flu, eating food high in sugar is likely to slow your recovery because it interferes with your body’s attempt to fight the intruder. Dairy is also a bad choice because it can thicken the mucus that is already present, increasing congestion.

All of us at Meth-Wick hope this information helps you enjoy an active and healthy fall!

Get Plenty of Sleep so Your Brain Can Take Out the Trash

While you’re powering down at the end of the day, your brain is blasting off like a rocket from the launch pad. Within minutes or sometimes even seconds of falling asleep, your brain starts along a well-established route.

It’s essential that your brain complete a sequence of tasks as you sleep so that you can be at peak performance while you’re awake. Sleep that is interrupted or too short does not allow the brain to finish its route. The short-term effects can include fatigue, poor decision-making and lack of alertness. In the long term, poor sleep will result in poor health. To understand how this is all interconnected, let’s take a look at the stages of sleep provided on the website of the National Sleep Foundation.

Stage I: An introduction to sleep

The first seven minutes of sleep are light, meaning you will easily awaken at a sound or movement, such as your dog jumping on the bed. This is the slow start that eases you into the next level of sleep.

Stage 2: Warming up the engine

While this stage is still on the light side compared to the later stages, the brain does busy itself with increased activity for a short duration before slowing down again. After that brief warm-up, it’s ready for some action.

According to an article on Scientific American website, the early stages of sleep are characterized by “large, slow brain waves, relaxed muscles and slow, deep breathing, which may help the brain and body to recuperate after a long day.”

Stage 3: Diving into the Deep

Your brain begins to dive into deeper sleep, making it less likely that you will awaken to the dog jumping or the faucet dripping. You continue into an even deeper level of sleep, when muscles and tissues are repaired, growth is stimulated, immune function is bolstered, and you are energized for the coming day.

Stage 4: Full speed ahead

You reach the next level of sleep, called REM (rapid eye movement), about 90 minutes after falling asleep. The Scientific American article describes REM sleep as “…bizarre…a dreamer’s brain becomes highly active while the body’s muscles are paralyzed, and breathing and heart rate become erratic.”

REM sleep is also when your brain takes out the trash, storing the important information of the day in your long-term memory and discarding the rest. That’s why an inadequate amount of sleep, especially on a regular basis, will impact your memory and ability to retain what you have learned.

The take-away

All sleep is not equal in quality. Short-term and long-term health is negatively affected if you are getting inadequate amounts of sleep or you are unable to make it through a sleep cycle without waking. For ideas on how to improve your sleep habits, read our blog, Sleeplessness spurs junk food eating.

Don’t forget that good sleep habits also apply to napping. The Sleep Foundation suggests you set your alarm to wake after 20 minutes, before reaching deeper sleep levels that will leave you feeling groggy. Or, if you have time, nap for 90 minutes, which will take you through a complete sleep cycle and have you waking refreshed.

All of us at Meth-Wick Community wish you good sleep and pleasant dreams!

Researchers: Future falls detection devices should meet emotional needs

A growing number of researchers are exploring the way that humans interact with computers. So much, in fact, that a common term has taken hold to describe this field of research: human-computer interactions or HCI.

A popular area of HCI research is technology that supports older adults and enables them to remain independent in their homes. That research is focused on products to detect falls and help adult children stay connected with aging parents. A group of researchers at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom saw an issue they felt was being neglected by recent HCI studies: the communications needs of older adults at risk of falls and their remote families.

These U.K. researchers reported on their findings in May at an international symposium where experts from around the globe gathered to share HCI information.

What they asked

The purpose of the U.K. study was to explore the technologies commonly used to automatically detect and communicate the falls of older adults.

Researchers wanted to find answers to the following:

  • What are older adults’ attitudes towards fall detection technology?
  • What are their needs for communication with their remote family?
  • What are the communications needs of adult children?

Who they asked

The study’s authors gathered information through individual interviews with seven older adults—three who lived independently and four who lived in senior communities—and three adult children. Researchers also conducted a group interview with 12 older adults in an assisted living facility.

What they found

Three themes emerged through interviews, revealing that the subject of falls among older adults was an emotional one.

The themes were:

Family’s anxiety over their elderly parent’s risk of falling.

Interviews with adult children centered on how often they spoke with their parent and preferences regarding fall monitoring devices.

The researchers noted that all adult children displayed a high level of anxiety. All participants thought a monitoring device was a good idea; some preferred automatic communication while others thought they, or their parent, should control the frequency and level of information.

Autonomy and privacy of older adults at risk of falls.

Questions posed to older adults related to whether or not they had fallen. If they had, they were asked how they felt afterwards and its affect on them and their family.

The older adults were more concerned with maintaining their independence than with the risk of falling. A few of the comments included:

  • “I would find (a fall detection device) invasive.”
  • “Sometimes I fall over and I’m quite alright. I don’t want someone fussing around me.”

Most of the independent seniors interviewed did not use safety-monitoring devices, while most of those at the assisted living facility did wear an “emergency alert” pendant.

Aesthetics of fall detection devices.

All study participants were asked how they felt about electronic monitoring devices. Based on feedback, these factors influence the adoption of devices by older adults:

  • Devices need to provide easy control to the older adult, who can adjust for frequency of notifications to family and how extensive the information will be.
  • Design/appearance of the device should be unobtrusive.

The takeaway

In their report, the study’s authors state that there is “…a tension between the peace of mind that such technology will provide to the children, and the demand for autonomy and privacy of the parent.” This tension brings with it a lot of emotion.

Since the findings of the U.K. study were only recently made public, it is too soon to see what, if any, impact they will have. Let’s hope the companies who develop electronic safety devices for older adults will take into account the emotional needs of those for whom their products are intended, and their anxious family members.

Research and technology support older drivers

The world is growing grayer. By 2050, the global population of those 80 years and older is expected to triple; one-third of the population will be older than 65 years of age. That brings a common challenge for all countries: how do we support the large number of older drivers who experience physical and mental changes as part of the aging process?

Glad you asked

Scientists in Germany believe they may have the answer. A study published on the Behavioral Neurology website poses an intriguing idea—training the brains of seniors will increase their skill in driving safely. That got our attention, which is why we’re sharing this with you!

Identifying impaired drivers

The researchers define driving as a complex task that requires visual, motor and cognitive skills—all factors that undergo change in older adults, including those in good health. But these changes will also vary from one individual to another. Because of this, the study’s authors stressed the importance of establishing a method for identifying older drivers, who have impairments that affect their driving ability, in order to implement training measures.

The authors also identified three areas of evaluation: functions needed in driving, driving ability in real traffic, and behavior in a driving simulator.

Supporting the older driver

According to the German researchers, the key to countering the “functional deficits” of older drivers lies in three areas: traffic environment, car environment and individual drivers.

They suggested complex locations, like intersections, should be structured as clearly as possible, with obvious signage and no distractions, such as advertisements. In-vehicle assistance, including GPS, aid older drivers by helping them focus on traffic by reducing their mental workload. They note that other driver assistive devices, currently in the works, may also prove useful.

According to an article, “The Future of Driving,” on the CNN website, automakers and the federal government are developing technology that will allow vehicles to communicate with each other about traffic, weather and road conditions. “More urgently, they can broadcast their speed and direction and warn each other about potential safety hazards, such as when a nearby vehicle is drifting into your lane,” Brandon Griggs wrote.

The director of Nissan’s research center, Marteen Sierhuis, is quoted in the same article. “If I can get information from the car next to me that they’re going to turn right, that would be great,” explained Sierhuis. He imagines a day when information about almost all vehicles is stored in the cloud and accessible by all.

A testing protocol

The study’s authors recommend a specific sequence for measuring an older person’s driving ability when it is questioned by a family member, doctor or the individual themselves.

  • Vision testing for accuracy, periphery, and night vision.
  • Testing of driving-related cognitive skills as they relate to situation awareness, visual search and multitasking.

And if an individual does not pass the first two tests, they recommend a third measurement:

  • Observing the driver in real traffic with complex situations.

If the driving test raises a red flag as to the driver’s abilities, driving training should be used. Researchers point out that the greatest challenges to older drivers are situations that are unexpected (the car in front brakes suddenly) or complex (navigating a roundabout). They advocate using simulator training of complex driving situations or computer-based training of traffic-relative cognitive functions. These tools have proven successful in improving driving skills and reducing traffic accidents in older adult drivers.

Driving simulators can be programmed so that complex driving situations can be repeated until the driver is trained to react skillfully. While the cognitive tests of drivers trained on a simulator and those trained using a computer program showed improvement across the board, that was not the case with a real driving test. In that situation, those trained on the simulator excelled, probably because of that tool’s ability to create a real-life traffic experience.

Extending the simulator’s reach

Unfortunately, as the authors point out, simulators are not commonly used in driver training due to their expense. Most simulators are used by researcher to study driver behavior. But companies like Carnetsoft, based in The Netherlands, are working to make the simulator more affordable in an effort to help integrate them into driver training courses.

Meantime, due to the rare accessibility of simulators, the researchers recommend future studies to compare short-term and long-term outcomes of older adults who are trained by simulator and computer. In other words, the fact that simulators are superior in immediate driver improvement does not necessarily mean they will win out in the long haul.

All of this is good news because it shows there is significant effort and study to help older adults improve their driving skills, one of many factors important to remaining independent longer.

Wisconsin researchers Americanize an Australian fall prevention program to increase its U.S. reach

Can a program that reduced falls among Australia’s older adults by 31 percent find widespread popularity in the U.S.? Although the Stepping On program was first introduced in North America in 2015, implementation of the evidence-based program has been limited in the U.S. A team of scientists set out to test implementation in three Wisconsin community settings with the purpose of modifying the program to make it more appealing to Americans.

The researchers share their discoveries and recommendations in an article published last month on the research-sharing website, frontiersin.org.

How Australia did it

The pilot program for Australia’s Stepping On fall prevention model was conducted with community-dwelling older adults who participated in a series of fall prevention classes led by an occupational therapist. This program included a three-month follow-up home visit to reinforce strategies taught in the class.

The program was simple and effective but it wasn’t gaining popularity in the U.S. Could a new Americanized method maintain the effectiveness of the program? The Wisconsin researchers planned to find out.

Mixing it up

The U.S. study used a mixture of methods to evaluate the Australian program’s model: rural and urban host sites; program leaders who were health professionals and those with no health background; and a combination of three-month follow-up phone calls and in-home visits. Fall prevention classes remained the hub of the program, with a mix of surveys and interviews completed by site managers, leaders, guest experts and participants.

The three community sites that hosted the U.S. classes were an independent living community, a parks and recreation center, and a rural site hosted by a parish nurse program.

Four questions were used to guide research:

  1. Who can serve as a Stepping On leader? Requiring the leadership of health professionals could encumber the program’s U.S. implementation.
  2. Are there differences in program implementation at different sites that would be barriers to the program’s adoption? The Australian program advocates using public venues that are easily accessible; the U.S. research team sought to challenge that approach.
  3. Are there differences in the success of implementation at urban versus rural sites? U.S. researchers needed to answer that question on their own, since participants in the Australian program were at one urban location.
  4. Can a phone call be substituted for a home visit in resource-strapped rural areas? The Australian program used home visits to reinforce fall prevention concepts and strategies, including exercise.

Fine-tuning the Australian model

At the conclusion of their study, the U.S. researchers were able to offer a number of evidence-based recommendations:

  • Prerequisite for leaders should be expanded to include non-health care professionals, especially social workers and others who have experience working with older adults. While both health care and non-health care Step On leaders scored well in most areas of their class presentation and supervision, the non-professionals failed to emphasis the connection between exercises and falls prevention. This can be addressed by emphasis the link during training sessions for leaders.
  • Both rural and urban venues attracted participants within a five-minute radius of their venue and saw more participants in their second series of classes, after news about the class spread.
  • A phone call can be used in lieu of a home visit. While a one-year follow-up showed comparable positive results for both methods, the home visit had better short-term results.

The take-away

The study’s findings have been included in the U.S. edition of the Stepping On training program and guide for sites in the U.S. Although the Wisconsin study showed that public venues are the best suited to successfully adopt the program, all of us who advocate for the safety of older adults can learn from its strategies. We at Meth-Wick are currently conducting our own fall prevention research. Keep an eye on the blog over the next few months to see what our findings revealed.

 

Sleeplessness spurs junk food eating

Poor sleep habits lead to poor food choices, which can result in weight gain or at the very least, daily fatigue. And let’s face it; there is nothing worse than being too tired to do the things we enjoy! To help you stay at the top of your game, we rounded up plenty of information on the connection between sleeping well and eating well. Hopefully this will put you to sleep!

Poor sleep = poor nutrition

According to an August 2013 article on the University of California Berkeley website, the brains of sleep deprived people undergo changes that may predispose them to eating junk food.

Berkeley researchers scanned the brains of 23 subjects after a good night’s sleep and after a sleepless night. The sleep-deprived brain showed less activity in the area related to complex decision making and more activity in areas that control response to rewards.

What they did

Researchers measured brain activity as participants were shown a series of food choices ranging from healthy (strawberries, apples and carrots) to unhealthy (donuts, burgers and pizza). Most participants chose unhealthy food after a sleepless night.

What they found

While earlier studies have linked sleep deprivation with appetite increase, the Berkeley research reveals specifics about the connection. “What we have discovered is that high-level brain regions required for complex judgments and decisions become blunted by a lack of sleep, while more primal brain structures that control motivation and desire are amplified,” said Matthew Walker, the study’s senior author and a Berkeley professor of psychology and neuroscience.

What you can do

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep to give the body enough time to recharge and feel rested. There are, however, “short sleepers” who need less than this. For those people, five or six hours may leave them refreshed and good to go. Others may need nine, ten or even twelve hours. These are known as “long sleepers” who need more hours in order to function at their best.

NSF emphasizes the importance of making a good night’s sleep a priority. Here are their tips on how to sleep well.

  • Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends.
  • Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
  • Turn off electronics (phone, tablet, TV) in the bedroom.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Evaluate your bedroom to ensure ideal temperature, sound and light.
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
  • Beware of hidden sleep stealers, like alcohol and caffeine.

If your best efforts at restful sleep are failing, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor. With growing evidence that shows good sleep equals good health, it’s important to make this a priority. Getting enough sleep is essential to living your best life.