HEALTHY HABITS: Sleep as the foundation for wellness

GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) - In this month's Healthy Habits segment with Vidant Health, Dr. Ronald Perkin shares some basic information on the importance of sleep, which he calls the foundation of overall wellness.

One third of American adults aren't getting enough sleep, which is at least seven hours or preferably, eight, according to Dr. Perkin.

Dr. Perkin is a staff physician at the Vidant Sleep Center in Greenville with more than 40 years experience.

He says that while wellness has become a big topic of discussion in our society, sleep is not always discussed as the foundation for overall wellness.

"Every component of a wellness program can be eroded by sleep loss," he said.

Dr. Perkin says sleep is one of the most misunderstood aspects of well-being and a lack of it can effect all of our bodies' other systems and functions.

He says getting less than seven hours of sleep per night is associated with an increased risk for developing chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, cancer, stroke and more.

"The brain is totally dependent on sleep, not only to maintain itself...but without good sleep the brain can't function appropriately and then every component of your physiological system whether its your heart, or your metabolic system or even your immune system is dependent on adequate sleep," he said.

What can you do?

Dr. Perkin says the most important thing is to prioritize getting seven hours of sleep per night.

You can track your sleep using a fitbit or other similiar device.

Sleeping should be silent.

Dr. Perkin says a child or adult who snores may want to talk to their doctor.

You can start by discussing your concerns with your primary care physician.

You can learn more about the Sleep services provided by Vidant Health at