MSM's Dr. Chantale Branson: There's a Reason You Are Not Getting the Best Sleep

MSM Assistant Professor of Neurology says we need to get on a routine where we go to bed
at the same time and get up at the same time -- starting with newborns.

By Beth Galvin, Fox 5 Atlanta | September 22, 2022

Chantale Branson, MDDr. Chantale Branson
Assistant Professor, Morehouse School of Medicine

ATLANTA -- When it comes to sleeping, Dr. Chantale Branson, Assistant Professor of Neurology at Morehouse School of Medicine, says we need to get on a routine, where we go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time -- starting with newborns.

"We should all have a schedule, from the moment they come out of the womb, we should ideally love for the baby to have a set schedule as much as possible," says Dr. Branson.

Fortunately, Dr. Branson says, newborns sleep a lot, giving their parents time to get some sleep.

"But as they get older, ideally, you want to set a schedule, to where they're sleeping a little bit more at night and eating during the day, feeding during the day, and doing those daily activities, so that you can sleep a little bit better at night and do what you need to do," says Dr. Branson.

Our brains need consistent sleep to consolidate memory, function at a high level, and cope with stress. Most experts recommend adults get seven to eight hours of sleep a night. But, with so much to do, and so many distractions, going to bed often gets put on the back burner.

If you're someone who tends to get what you need to get done now, and worry about sleeping later, Dr. Branson says, rethink that.

"You'll do better if you set a set schedule to sleep and a set schedule to do the work that you need to do," asserts Dr. Branson. " I think we have to change those misconceptions about what we have been taught, so we can have a better quality of life. So, we can improve our memory or thinking over time."

And remember: Being sleep-deprived can affect your hormones, triggering weight gain.

Short naps can help -- but the studies are mixed about the benefits of sleeping in on the weekends to make up for being short on sleep during the week.

"So, one set of data say yes, they'll feel better, but another set of data say, but they still won't change the hormonal factors that play a role if you get less than six hours of sleep as an adult," says Dr. Branson. "So, it might make you feel better, but over the long term, it's not going to be very helpful."

If you can, get yourself on a schedule, and stick with it.  Your body will thank you.

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