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Home News Feeling Sleepy? You’re Not Alone
David Morgan
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Feeling Sleepy? You’re Not Alone

April 13, 2015 - Public Relations - Healthy Living

How you doing, sleepy head? Are you feeling tired? Even when you’d been up for a couple of hours today, were you ready to take a nap? Turns out you’re not alone.

While we often consider sleep to be a “passive” activity, something we should be worrying about because we’ve always got some kind of work to do, be it our job, our kids, or just household chores. However, more and more research shows getting sufficient sleep is more than just rest, it needs to be an essential aspect of health promotion and chronic disease prevention in the public health community.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH), not getting enough sleep leads to chronic health issues, including Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression.

Turns out as a country, we’re not getting enough sleep. According to 2009 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, more than a third of American adults say they are not getting a full seven hours of sleep each night. That results in self-reported poor concentration, memory difficulties and even performance issues at work.

It affects us in every aspect of our lives, particularly our jobs, which depending on what we do that can be dangerous for ourselves and others. An estimated 317,000 traffic crashes involved large trucks in 2012, according to CDC reports. Among those, 26,000 truck drivers or passengers were injured, and 700 were killed. Those crashes can be prevented by training that addresses seat belt use, distracted driving and drowsy driving.

So how much sleep do we need? The CDC says it depends on your age. Newborns need 16-18 hours a day. Pre-school aged children need up to 12 hours daily while school-aged kids need at least ten hours a day. Teens, meanwhile, need nine to 10 hours and adults as many as nine hours.

If you’re not getting those recommended hours, there are some changes you can make for the better. It’s all about practicing good sleep hygiene – the fancy term for good sleep habits.

The CDC and NMDOH has a short list of small changes you can make for big changes for your energy level:

  • Go to bed at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning, including weekends.
  • Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment, which is neither too hot nor too cold.
  • Make sure your bed is comfortable and use it only for sleeping and not for other activities, such as reading, watching TV, or listening to music. Remove all TVs, computers, and other "gadgets" from the bedroom. You’ve got to limit screen time before bed.
  • Avoid large meals before bedtime.

It’s important to practice good sleep hygiene, but if your sleep problems persist or if they interfere with how you feel or function during the day, you should seek evaluation and treatment by a physician, preferably one familiar with assessing and treating sleep disorders. Before visiting your physician, keep a diary of your sleep habits for about ten days to discuss at the visit.

For more information on sleep and sleep disorders, visit the Center for Disease Control site.

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