- Category: HouseCall®
- Published: 23 October 2013
- Written by Dr. Machelle Seibel
This article is about something important to everyone – sleep. For many people, sleep almost seems a waste of time. You know the expression, "you snooze, you loose." It sounds good, but it couldn't be further from the truth. A 2002 National Sleep Foundation (NSF) Sleep in America poll found that 74% of American adults have some type of sleep problem a few nights per week or more, 39% get less than 7 hours of sleep each weeknight, and more than a third (37%) say too little sleep interferes with their daily activities.
|Infants/Babies||0-2 months||10.5-18.5 hours|
|2-12 months||14-15 hours|
|Toddlers/Children||12-18 months||13-15 hours|
|18 months – 3 years||12-14 hours|
|3-5 years||11-13 hours|
|5-12 years||9-11 hours|
|Adults/Older persons||On average 7-9 hours|
Seven ways snoozing affects your cruising:
Too little sleep affects just about every part of your life. Here's what happens if you don't get enough sleep:
- Mood: more sleep makes you less irritable
- Concentration: Being too tired affects concentration about the equivalent of having one alcoholic beverage.
- Dangerous driver: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates vehicle crashes due to driver fatigue cost Americans $12.5 billion per year in reduced productivity and property loss. Nearly 5% of adults surveyed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) nodded off or fell asleep while driving at least once in the past month. Nearly 40% said they had unintentionally fallen asleep during the day at least once. More than 1,500 people die every year in car crashes due to the driver dozing off or being too tired.
- Decision making: People who are tired make poor decisions and have difficulty deciding.
- Poor performance at work: It's hard to do a great job when you can't concentrate, make poor decisions and feel irritable. According to a NSF poll, sleep loss costs US employers an estimated $18 billion in lost productivity.
- Increased risk of diabetes: Poor sleep increases blood sugar levels and makes insulin (the hormone that gets sugar from the blood stream into the cells) less able to do its job.
- Increased risk of obesity: Poor sleep increases hormones the stimulate appetite and decreases hormones that tell us we have had enough to eat. Stated simply, people who don't sleep enough eat more.
Seven tips for your slumber trips:
- Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
- Use your bed only for sleep or intimacy. Work or read somewhere else.
- Avoid the television and computers within two hours of bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate), nicotine and alcohol close to bedtime. Alcohol disrupts sleep and wakes you for bathroom trips.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine such as a nice, warm bath.
- Get plenty of exercise, but none within 3 hours of bedtime.
- Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, uncluttered, cool and comfortable
Seven tips that disease could be disturbing your zzz's (according to NSF):
- You snore loudly
- You stop breathing or gasp for air while asleep
- You find yourself dozing off while driving or during an activity
- You have difficulty sleeping 3 or more nights per week
- Your legs tingle or feel restless or nervous when you try to sleep
- Your sleeping partner snores every night and wakes you up
- Your sleep is regularly disturbed by hot flashes, going to the bathroom, pain or heartburn
Make sure you talk with your doctor or healthcare provider if sleep is a problem for you. You will not only feel better, it will help you stay well. Remember, sleep is not time you lose. For a free download of the song Sleep is Not Time You Lose, please go to www.HealthRock.com/podcasts. Enjoy the song and sleep well.