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Do you get enough sleep?

- July 18, 2014 by Guest Bloggers (View all posts by Guest)

That’s an interesting question. Before you answer that, consider that most studies suggest that the average adult needs between 7-9 hours of quality sleep a night. Now go ahead and answer that question. That’s what I thought; most of us are not getting enough sleep.

Lack of sleep can lead to increased stress, and decreased levels of productivity. The National Commission on Sleep Disorders estimates that sleep deprivation costs $100 billion every year in injuries, death and property damage. Consider this, a large majority of U.S. workers are performing what can be considered safety sensitive work; this includes operating vehicles, heavy equipment, and machinery to just name a few. Not only can you hurt yourself if you are drowsy or fatigued, but you can hurt those around you.

So what can you do prevent fatigue and to ensure that you are getting the right amount of rest?

Make sure your bed is comfortable. Remember that most mattresses wear out after ten years, and pillows, depending on the quality, need to be replaced 1-2 times per year. Do you have a pet that is a bed hog? If so, you might need to consider keeping him, or her, out of the bedroom.

Do your best to stay on a schedule. If possible try to go to bed and wake up close to the same time every day. Developing a regular pattern for your sleep cycle will make you feel healthier and more alert during the day.

Only use your bed for sleeping. Avoid bringing things like cell phones, tablets, and televisions into the bedroom. According to the National Sleep Foundation, exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the eye to parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or wide awake. Too much light, right before bedtime may prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.

Eat healthy and avoid caffeine before bed. Eat nutritious meals at regular times and avoid heavy meals right before bed. As you coffee lovers know, caffeine is considered a stimulant and can prevent you from getting good sleep; it is recommended that you refrain from consuming caffeine between 4-6 hours before bed.

For additional information on healthy sleeping habits visit the resources listed below.

Resources:

“Twelve Simple Tips to Improve Your Sleep.” HealthSleep.Med.Harvard.edu. Harvard Medical School, Division of Sleep Medicine, 18 December 2007.  Web. 30 May 2014. http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/getting/overcoming/tips

“National Center on Sleep Disorders Research.” NHLBI.NIH.gov. National Commission on Sleep Disorders, ND. Web. 30 May 2014. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/

“Sleep Studies.” SleepFoundation.org. National Sleep Foundation, ND. Web. 30 May 2014.
http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/sleep-studies

 
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