Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
There is no question that people are getting less sleep these days. With busy schedules, more activities, more work hours, people are carving that extra time out of their sleep. While many folks can operate on as little as five hours nightly, the greatest majority of people need seven to eight hours each night.
Building a sleep debt (the result of too little sleep) has been proven to have many negative consequences to our health and lifestyle including, daytime sleepiness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, poor thinking and judgement, memory loss, increased risk of accidents, and increased risk of weight gain, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Getting a Better Night’s Sleep
Here are some tips gathered from a number of sources that can help you get a better night’s sleep:
Avoid using caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other substances that interfere with sleep four to eight hours before bedtime.
Adopt a relaxing pre-sleep ritual.
Go to sleep when you are tired and get up if you can’t fall asleep within 20-30 minutes (thus avoiding frustration).
Keep a consistent sleep schedule going to bed and waking at the same time even on weekends.
Ensure your bedroom is a sleep-inducing environment: cool, dark, comfortable, and quiet.
Keep naps early and short or don’t nap at all.
Keep evening/late meals light and avoid excess fluid intake.
Get regular exercise; but, avoid exercising within three hours of bedtime.
Manage your stress.
Avoid excessive use of electronic devices in or from the bed.
Replace your old mattress and pillows with new, high-quality, comfortable models.