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Looking Good - March 15, 2017

*-- How To Get A Good Night Sleep --*

Most Americans don't get enough sleep. Honestly, I know I don't. Whether it's because there aren't enough hours in the day for all we need to do, or because we're not able to sleep, it's still a problem for most of us. Surveys conducted by NSF between 1999-2004 revealed that 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders and 60 percent of adults report having sleep problems a few nights a week or more. Also, 40 percent of adults experience daytime sleepiness that interferes with their daily activities at least a few days a month. Twenty percent report it a few days a week or more, and 69 percent of children experience one or more sleep problems a few nights or more during a week.

Everyone is different. Our bodies all need different nutrients, sleep cycles, etc. Most healthy adults need around 8 hours of sleep, give or take. The need for sleep doesn't decline with age, but our abilities to sleep a solid 6 or 8 hours all the way through does reduce. People who are at risk particularly for sleep deprivation include night shift workers, physicians/residents, truck drivers, parents and teenagers.

Most common causes of sleep deprivation:

Stress - School or job related pressures, family or marriage problems, serious illness or death in the family. Most passes once the situation passes, but if short term insomnia isn't managed properly from the beginning, it can and will persist even after the stress has disappeared.

Drinking alcohol or beverages containing caffeine in the afternoon or evening.

Exercising too close to bedtime.

Not having a consistent night time schedule or working/doing other mentally intense activities right before or after getting into bed.

Traveling - Jet lag or traveling across several time zones can upset the biological or circadian rhythms.

The room you sleep in - Too hot, too cold, too noisy, too bright. Mattress too hard or soft.

Family - Children in your bed or room at night, your partner and how they sleep, whether they snore, wake up during the night, etc.

Job/Lifestyle - Having a job that requires you to be on call 24/7 can cause issues with your sleep pattern. Electronics going off all the time, or people calling or texting can cause issues with sleep as well.

How to get a good night sleep:

-Keep a regular sleep/wake schedule
-Don't drink or eat caffeine 4-6 hours before bed
-Don't smoke near bedtime
-Avoid alcohol and big meals before sleep
-Exercise regularly
-Keep a soothing, temperature controlled room to sleep in
-Try to wake up without an alarm clock


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