There’s no question: sleep affects your health. You can feel it every day you don’t get enough sleep. But besides just feeling groggy for a day, a poor sleep schedule can have long-term effects on your physical and mental health.
In order to highlight the importance of good sleep habits, the National Sleep Foundation created Sleep Awareness Week®, which begins at the start of Daylight Savings Time (when we all lose an hour of precious shut-eye).
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 45% of Americans say that poor or insufficient sleep affected their daily activities at least once in the past seven days. The goal of Sleep Awareness Week® is to celebrate the benefits of healthy sleep and promote sleep disorder management.
How sleep affects your health
Studies have shown that bad sleep is a public safety hazard. Check out these interesting facts:
- More than 1 in 3 American adults say they don’t get the recommended amount of sleep.***
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fatigue is a cause of 100,000 auto crashes and 1,550 crash-related deaths a year in the U.S.*
- More than 37% of employees are sleep-deprived.**
- Fatigue decreases productivity and increases risk of injuries.**
- Research shows 13% of workplace injuries can be attributed to fatigue.**
- Lack of sleep impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, problem-solving, and makes it more difficult to learn.*
- Sleep deprivation is bad for your heart health. It can increase your risk of high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity.***
Tips for better sleep
Most adults need 7 hours of sleep each night. But one-third of American adults say they aren’t getting that.*** Here are some helpful tips to get better sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC):
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule.
- Exercise during the day (but not within a few hours of bedtime).
- Get sunlight
- Use blue light filters on your screens a few hours before bedtime.
- Don’t eat or drink within a few hours of bedtime.
- Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.
Some people benefit from taking over-the-counter medicines to help them rest. Melatonin, Diphenhydramine, Doxylamine, and Valerian are common (but be sure to consult with your doctor and check the drug interactions and side effects before taking anything). You can also speak to your doctor about getting a prescription sleep medicine.
What are sleep disorders?
Sleep disorders are medical conditions that impair your ability to sleep well regularly. There are many different sleep disorders, but major ones include: Restless legs syndrome (RLS), Insomnia, REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD), Sleep Apnea, and Narcolepsy.
If you believe you may be suffering from a diagnosable sleep disorder, be sure to speak to your doctor about getting a sleep test. Getting your sleep schedule under control now will have positive short- and long-term effects on your health, safety, and overall well-being.
Alright, we think it’s time for a nap!
Published: February 22, 2022