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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Not Enough Sleep!

Please turn on your magic beam
Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream.
- lyrics: Mr. Sandman by the Chordettes
Did you know....
· Almost 74% of all Americans do not get enough sleep each night.
· We sleep on average 6.9 hours/day, almost an hour less than a few decades ago; an hour and half less than a century ago. (Eight hours and fifteen minutes is considered ideal.)
· Parents of young children lose an extra hour of sleep each night. (NSF 2004.)
· Sleep problems are reaching epidemic proportions, estimated to be the #1 health related problem in America - (CNN, May 1997.)
· Fatigue's consequences include higher instances of motor vehicle accidents, work-related accidents, decreased productivity and adverse health effects.
· Sleep deprivation can reduce attention and vigilance by 50 percent, decision-making ability by 5 0percent, communication skills by 30 percent, and memory by 20 percent.
· The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that “drowsy driving” causes 100,000 automobile wrecks, 71,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities each year.
Adults needs about 8 hours of sleep each night to refuel the body, especially the brain. (9-10 hours for children and teenagers.) Certain parts of the body, like muscles, can rejuvenate on just rest alone. However the regeneration of neurons and the formation of lasting memories within the brain required a deep sleep called REM (rapid eye movement).
A person who loses one night’s sleep will generally be irritable and clumsy during the next day and will either become tired easily or speed up because of adrenalin. After missing two night’s sleep, a person will have problems concentrating and will begin to make mistakes on normal tasks. Three missed nights and a person will start to hallucinate and lose grasp of reality. Someone who gets just a few hours of sleep each night occurs a large “sleep debt” and can begin to experience many of the same problems over time. A 1997 study found that people whose sleep was restricted to four to five hours per night for one week needed two full nights of sleep to recover performance, alertness and normal mood. -
Sleep debt weakens the immune system leaving one more susceptible to other diseases and disorders like diabetes, cancer and even the common cold. Sleep debt also causes much stress and, again, stress weakens the immune system - a double whammy.
Bottom Line
Suggestions on how to get more sleep include:
· Purposefully go to bed earlier each night.
· Don’t smoke or drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages in the hours before bedtime.
· Improve your sleeping environment in any way you can – for example, keep it dark and sound-proof, turn off lights and wear earplugs if you have noisy neighbours.
· Don’t have any distractions in the bedroom such as TV or a computer.
· Use relaxation techniques to help you fall asleep quickly.
· Seek professional assistance for sleep disorders such as snoring.

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