Your quality of sleep has a far-reaching effect on your health, productivity, safety and overall quality of life. In fact, lack of sleep or poor sleep is a wide-ranging problem, with potential life-and-death health consequences. You should know that:
- Sixty-five percent of Americans routinely get less than the recommended daily amount of sleep (eight hours).
- Thirty million Americans experience a sleep disorder such as insomnia, sleep apnea or narcolepsy, all of which lead to excessive daytime sleepiness.
- Studies show that the effects of sleep loss are cumulative—the more sleep is disturbed or reduced, the more likely an individual will inadvertently fall asleep.
- When sleep-deprived, people think and move more slowly, make more mistakes and have difficulty remembering things.
- Sleep-deprived individuals are impaired by smaller quantities of alcohol than are rested people—a factor that could further contribute to accidents.
The Health Impact of Sleep Deprivation
The long-term health effects of sleep deprivation can be serious—including a greater risk for developing depression, heart disease and increased risk of stroke. Diabetes and obesity have also been linked to continual lack of quality sleep.
Simple Steps for Good Sleep
- Try to get eight hours of sleep daily
- Make your bed comfortable and use it only for sleeping and not for other activities, such as reading, watching TV or listening to music
- Keep your room cool and comfortable
- Maintain a regular daily schedule, going to bed and getting up at the same time each day
- Do a relaxing activity before falling asleep
- Maintain a regular routine for bedtime preparations
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and exercise close to bedtime
- Avoid reliance on sleeping pills
If you feel your sleep habits are healthy, yet you still have symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness or disrupted sleep, consult your primary physician to see if sleep testing is needed, or call Portsmouth Regional Hospital's Sleep Diagnostic Center at (603) 334-2012.