Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Getting and Staying Healthy: Getting Enough Sleep

Our busy lifestyles often aren't conducive to getting the recommended amount of sleep at night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. Dr. Kenneth Berg from the Mayo clinic states that persons who get less than seven hours of sleep per night have a higher mortality than those who have adequate sleeping habits. Inadequate sleep has been linked to increased risk of motor vehicle accidents; an increase in body mass index – a greater likelihood of obesity due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation; increased risk of diabetes and heart problems; increased risk for psychiatric conditions including depression and substance abuse; and decreased ability to pay attention, react to signals or remember new information.

So, if you are currently getting less than 7 good hours of sleep at night, consider making a change to try to increase that to a minimum of 7 or 8 hours. Here are some other suggestions for you to consider to improve your quality or quantity of sleep:

1. Establish regular sleep and wake schedules.
2. Have regular, relaxing bedtime routines such as taking a hot bath or playing quiet music.
3. Create a dark, quiet, comfortable and cool environment.
4. Make sure you have a comfortable mattress and pillow.
5. Avoid watching TV, using a computer or reading in bed.
6. Avoid eating 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime.
7. Exercise regularly during the day, but avoid exercise at least a few hours before bedtime.
8. Avoid caffeine and alcohol products close to bedtime.

Let me know if you have comments or additional suggestions...

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