Thursday, October 31, 2013

Lack of sleep is a health issue for adults

This article discusses how lack of sleep is a huge issue for adults, and what those who aren't getting enough sleep should to do fix it.

America is full of sleepy people.
Adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, but most average between five and six, according to Shari Newman, clinical manager of sleep services at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
“We are sleepier today than we have ever been before,” Newman said. “Sleepy is an epidemic.”
When we are sleepy, we don't exercise as we should. We eat too much thinking it will give us energy to get through the day and we drink coffee and other caffeine-heavy drinks because we need that added boost, which only causes us to have trouble sleeping at night. The problems reoccur the next day.
“Sleepiness is adding to the obesity problem,” said Newman, seated in a room at North Grove Medical Center in Spartanburg. The room resembles a small hotel room instead of a typical doctor's office exam room. A tidy bed with white sheets sits against one wall. A TV sits in one corner. A bathroom, complete with a shower, is connected.
Newman said as many as 3,000 people stay in one of these 12 rooms each year. They come in around 8:30 p.m., go to sleep and leave the next morning around 6:30 a.m. While they sleep, doctors analyze their sleep patterns, studying brain waves and any breathing irregularities. There are 88 types of sleep disorders, Newman said.
The average adult spends a third of his life sleeping, according to the National Sleep Foundation. If you're 75 years old, that means you have slept for 25 years. How we sleep and how often we sleep affects the other two-thirds of our life, studies say.
Not only can sleepiness lead to obesity, studies have found other relationships between the quantity and quality of one's sleep and health problems. Blood pressure usually falls during the sleep cycle, however, interrupted sleep can adversely affect this normal decline, leading to hypertension and cardiovascular problems. Research has also shown that insufficient sleep impairs the body's ability to use insulin, which can lead to the onset of diabetes, according to the National Sleep Foundation. If you're sleepy, you can have a negative mood and behavior, decreased productivity, and safety issues in the home, on the job and on the road. A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that children who do not adhere to a regular bedtime are more likely to exhibit behavior problems during the day.
“We know sleepy folks really are at risk,” Newman said. “You have to plan for good sleep and make sleep the priority it needs to be.”
She adds that you should be able to lie down and go to sleep within 10 minutes and wake up without needing an alarm clock.
“If that's not happening, why? What is going on with your sleep?”
If you have trouble falling asleep at night, consider these tips provided by Spartanburg Regional Sleep Services:
* Lie down when you feel sleepy. If you don't fall asleep within 30 minutes, don't keep looking at the clock. Get up and go to another area where it's nice and quiet and relaxing. When you feel sleepy again, go back to bed. If you keep tossing and turning, you get anxious and frustrated and it's not going to happen.
* Go to sleep and get up at the same time everyday, even on weekends. “A lot of us try to catch up on sleep over the weekends. But sleep is not money, you can't save it up or put it in a bank. You have got to do it everyday.”
* Do not have caffeine within six hours of bedtime. Caffeine is a drug and it takes longer to clear from your system than a lot of people realize.
* Add exercise to your daily schedule. Exercise can deepen your sleep
  • Insulate your room against sound and light
  • Keep your room temperature moderate. Exceedingly warm or cold temperatures can disturb sleep. Generally, we sleep better when it's cooler.
  • Consider eating a light, caffeine-free snack before bedtime. Both hunger and excessive fullness can disturb sleep.
  • Avoid excessive liquids in the evening so you don't have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
  • Don't smoke tobacco.
  • Avoid alcohol, especially in the evening. Alcohol may help you fall asleep more easily, your sleep will be disturbed later by the alcohol.
  • Keep work materials such as computers and television out of the bedroom.
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