Michigan Association of Fire Fighters

Improve mental, physical health by getting enough rest

Excerpted from an article in the MESSA DiscoverYou March/April 2020 newsletter

Do you get at least seven hours of sleep each night? If not, you should plan to hit the sheets earlier tonight.

Overworked or overstressed adults often tend to treat sleep as a luxury rather than a necessity. However, getting enough sleep is as critical to your overall well-being as eating and breathing. Research shows that robbing yourself of sleep can impact your ability to store memories and concentrate, as well as regulate your mood and appetite. It can lead to weight gain and a weakened immune system.

The problem is that too many people don’t get as much sleep as they should. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get at least seven hours of sleep every night. However, more than one-third of adults report they usually get less than that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Shorting yourself on sleep puts you at greater risk for developing chronic conditions, according to the CDC, including:MESSA logo RGB Blue no tag R 2

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Heart attack
  • Kidney disease
  • Stroke

With a few tweaks to your bedtime routine, you may be able to increase the quantity and quality of your sleep. The health information website Healthline suggests:

  • Regulate your sleep schedule by going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day — even on weekends.
  • Limit your exposure to the blue light emitted from electronic devices, which can lower melatonin, the body’s sleep hormone.
  • Cut down on caffeine late in the day. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that consuming caffeine six hours before bedtime disrupted sleep.
  • Make sure your bedroom is primed for sleepy time. Your room shouldn’t be too warm, bright or noisy. Never underestimate the importance of a comfortable mattress and pillows.

Everyone needs time to decompress from the pressures of work and life, and the evenings are often the only time to do it. However, you may be doing more harm than good when you sacrifice sleep to veg out on the couch with a few episodes of your favorite show. Do yourself a favor and go to bed earlier tonight.


Age Sleep Recommendations
 65+ 7-8 hours
 18-64 7-9 hours
 14-17 8-10 hours
 6-13 9-11 hours
 3-5 10-13 hours
 1-2 11-14 hours
 4-11 months 12-15 hours
 0-3 months 14-17 hours

Source: National Sleep Foundation

MESSA DiscoverYou is a bi-monthly health and wellness newsletter available to MESSA members. For more information about MESSA health benefits and services, call 1-833-341-6276. Visit MESSA online at www.messa.org