Sleep is essential to everyone's health and well being. Yet, with so many distracting activities available, sleep has slipped farther and farther down the list of things to do.
And it will likely only get worse unless people decide to change what they consider important. In some offices, the workday stretches from eight hours to ten or more, and employees still take briefcases full of work home with them.
At home, they're tempted by video games, new and exciting TV shows and the ever-growing world of computers and technology. Or they can go out to all-night casinos, nightclubs or other entertainment.
Chronic Sleep Deprivation leads to deterioration of both physical and mental health. Lack of sleep can lead to diabetes, obesity, stroke and heart disease. Sleep deprivation can also cause mental confusion, memory problems and depression.
Sleep deprivation can also lead to errors and to accidents. Many car accidents are caused by drivers falling asleep at the wheel. Errors on the job caused by lack of sleep can cause injury and even death.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep for adults and this increases for children. Many people fall far below this suggestion. There's just too much to do to fit eight hours of sleep into the allotted twenty-four hour day.
Sleep deprivation is rapidly becoming a major health problem. People are sleeping only when there's nothing else to do, sleeping far less than what is necessary to remain healthy, or trying to catch up on sleep over the weekend. Catching up sounds like a great idea. However, it's almost impossible to catch up on sleep, especially if it's long-term deprivation.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 70 million Americans may be suffering from sleep deprivation and sleep disorders. That's a lot of tired people.
If you think you may be suffering from sleep deprivation, talk to your doctor to eliminate a sleep disorder. If the lack of sleep is caused by your lifestyle, here are a few tips to get you back on track.
- Set a regular time for going to bed and getting up.
- Give yourself ample time to sleep, usually about eight hours.
- Sleep in the same room and bed every night, if possible.
- Keep noisy disruptions like phones, TVs and radios out of the bedroom.
- Beds should be reserved for sleeping and sex.
- Don't eat a heavy meal within three hours of bedtime. Drink a glass of warm milk if you're hungry.
- Avoid alcoholic drinks, smoking and caffeine near bedtime.
- Get some exercise earlier in the day.
- Try relaxation techniques or meditation.
- Keep night lighting to a minimum, especially in the bathroom.
- Avoid daytime naps.
- Bedrooms should be neither too warm or too cold.
- Develop a sleep ritual, a certain routine you do every night.
- Take a hot bath just before retiring.
Published On: March 03, 2008