You Getting Enough Sleep?
people need eight hours of sleep each night, say the experts.
Until you get enough sleep, you won’t function as efficiently,
your health will be at risk and even your job may be in jeopardy.
As a culture, we have been getting less and less sleep over the
years. Over the last 100 years, our average nightly sleep has
dropped from 9 to 7.5 hours, with a third of adults now getting
an hour less than that. And, says the National Sleep Foundation
(NSF), almost half of adults admit they sleep less so they can
work or play more.
Sleep is not simply a passive activity, say medical experts in
the growing field of sleep medicine. It’s one of the most important
elements in a healthy lifestyle–as important, they say, as good
nutrition and exercise.
Researchers know that a lack of deep sleep–as opposed to irregular
or fragmented sleep–undermines the body’s ability to fight off
disease. Sleepiness also reduces the quality and quantity of people’s
work by a third, says Pat Britz, program director at the NSF.
Nearly one in four of those under 30 say they’re sometimes late
to work because they’re sleepy.
In recent research at the University of Chicago, a group of sleep-deprived
men was found to have higher concentrations of sugar in their
blood than those fully rested. That could contribute to development
of a pre-diabetic condition.
But while three out of five Americans told the NSF they have trouble
sleeping several nights each week, fewer than half were asked
about the quality of their sleep by a physician, and less than
20 percent initiated such a discussion. For millions more, the
body’s need to sleep is treated as a bothersome time-waster.
Here are some tips for better sleep:
Go to bed at the same time every night, even on weekends. It keeps
your biological clock synchronized.
Establish a pre-bedtime routine–brushing your teeth or reading–that
lets your body know it’s time for sleep.
Avoid caffeine six hours before bedtime and alcohol and tobacco
two hours before bedtime.
Get up at the same time every day, no matter when you went to
Unwind from daily activities early so your mind is clear at bedtime.
Exercise regularly. Those who do sleep better.
Sleep in a dark, cool, quiet room on a comfortable mattress.
from GHI. For more information, visit the National Sleep Foundation
at www.sleepfoundation.org or the Better Sleep Council at www.bettersleep.org.
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