Local doctor discusses the importance of sleep

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It’s very fitting that right after we change our clocks, it’s Sleep Awareness Week.

It’s important because not getting enough sleep can have severe consequences for our health.

“Sleep is not just a luxury, it’s a vital necessity. Without enough sleep, you have the risk of being overweight or even obese, you tend to overeat. A lot of appetite hormones go down when you’re asleep,” said Dr. Gilberto Heredia, of Optum New Mexico.

According to Dr. Heredia, not getting enough sleep can put you at a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease and even depression.

There are many reasons why you’re not getting enough sleep. Also, the time change can make it even harder.

However, the key is to have a routine.

“Don’t eat after 6 p.m., don’t exercise after 6 p.m. at 8 p.m., turn off all the lights, all the artificial lights,” Dr. Heredia said.

Another important thing is to remember to disconnect from your phone or your computer within 30 minutes.

No matter what time you get up, it’s important to try and get 7-8 hours.

When it comes to power naps, a snooze of around 20-45 minutes can be healthy. Anything longer than an hour can disrupt your overall sleep patterns, though.