Miles to Go Before We Sleep

Sleep

According to a recent study, the only folks getting enough sleep on a consistent basis are those who have stopped working, and are living out their days in relaxation. ABC News reported that the same was true for people whose mental or physical conditions make them unable to work. Surveys done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that the amount of sleep for people varies by age, and younger people are getting the least amount of sleep among the tested age groups. The proper amount of sleep, which is about 7-9 hours for adults, is obtained by people upon retirement. Sleep deprivation is typically caused by work, academic, and family stress, plus lifestyle habits, such as late-night television, Internet use, ingestion of caffeine or other stimulants, and late night partying. Some helpful thoughts about getting enough shut-eye:

• Sleep seems to organize memories, as well as help you to recover memories. After you learn something new, sleep may solidify the learning in your brain;

• Parts of the brain that control emotions, decision-making, and social interactions slow down dramatically during sleep, allowing optimal performance when awake. REM sleep seems especially important for a good mood during the day. Tired people are often cranky and easily frustrated;

• Lacking adequate sleep makes the immune system become weak, and the body becomes more vulnerable to infection and disease;

• Some sleep experts suggest that neurons used during the day repair themselves during sleep. When we experience sleep deprivation, neurons are unable to perform effectively, and the nervous system is impaired;

• Growth hormones are released during sleep, and sleep is vital to proper physical and mental development;

• Depression is two times more common for college students, than in the general population, affecting nearly 20% of students. Researchers believe that lack of sleep contributes to this high rate. Additionally, inadequate amounts of sleep cause increased susceptibility to illnesses such as colds and flu;

• Many college students make the mistake of staying up late or pulling all-nighters to prepare for an exam or to complete an assignment. In reality, not getting enough sleep makes it more difficult for them to process, analyze, and retain information, and manage stress;

• Keep regular hours. Try to go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every day. Getting up at the same time is most important. Getting bright light, like the sun, when you get up will also help;

• Taking a nap during the day is not recommended because it reduces the amount of time a person sleeps at night. If necessary, take your nap early in the day and for no more than 20-30 minutes;

• Keep your bedroom at comfortable temperature. Not too warm and not too cold. Cooler is better than warmer;

• Do not exercise at least 3 hours before bed;

• Avoid bright light around the house before bed. Using dimmer switches in living rooms and bathrooms before bed can be helpful;

• Bedtime routines are helpful for good sleep. A cup of herbal tea an hour before bed can begin a routine. Sleeping pills and other sleep aids actually reduce sleep quality;

• Avoid looking at the clock if you wake up in the middle of the night. It can cause anxiety. This is very difficult for most of us, so turn the clock away from your eyes so you would have to turn it to see the time. You may decide not to make the effort and go right back to sleep;

• If you can’t get to sleep for over 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something boring in dim light till you are sleepy;

• Avoid sugary foods like chocolate, which make falling asleep more difficult. If you are hungry close to bedtime, eat a light carbohydrate or dairy snack instead. In small quantities, eating something light can sometimes help you fall asleep. Have you heard the notion that a bottle of milk puts a baby to sleep? The same can work for adults;

• Watching TV or using laptop computers late at night is not recommended. Reading in bed can be a problem if the material is overly stimulating and you read with a bright light. If it helps to read before sleep, try soothing material and make sure you use a very small wattage bulb to read. A 15 watt bulb should be enough;

• Don’t stress if you feel you are not getting enough sleep. Know you will sleep eventually.
(Resource: National Sleep Foundation)

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  1. February 25, 2017 at 12:47 am

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