National Sleep Awareness Week By Paul Fulmer, MD

National Sleep Awareness Week

Today begins National Sleep Awareness Week. Sleep is such an important part of our lives. Studies have shown that 21% of females and 30% of males are “sleepy”. A recent poll done by the National Sleep Foundation shows that one quarter of train operators and pilots report being sleepy on the job and admit that this has affected their work performance. Most of these workers attributed their lack of sleep to crazy schedules and poor sleep habits. Even though many of these workers do admit to taking frequent naps throughout their day to help keep their performance at its best, it is still very troubling that such a high percentage are impaired on the job.

What can you do to improve your sleep? Taking proactive steps toward correcting your sleep hygiene is the first step.

1). Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day

2). Avoid bright light in the evening, but make sure to get plenty of sunlight during the day. This lets your “body clock” help in your sleep/wake cycles.

3).Choose a relaxing bedtime ritual such as a warm bath and some relaxing music.

4). Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep. Cool, dark, and quiet with a comfortable bed and pillows.

5). Use your bedroom for sleep and sex. Keep computers, TV’s and work materials out of the bedroom. This will strengthen your association of bed and sleep.

6). If you can’t sleep, get up and go into another room for a bit and do something relaxing. Then once you feel more tired you can return to bed.

7). Exercise regularly, but avoid strenuous exercise close to bedtime.

8). If you try these tips and continue to have excessive daytime tiredness, snoring or ” stop breathing” episodes, then you should contact your doctor.

Remember, sleep is an important part of each day and helps set our biological clock for the rest of the day. Getting enough sleep is essential to improved work performance and a better quality of life. So use this National Sleep Awareness week as a jump start toward getting better sleep for 2012.

Click to read article: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/press-release/sleepy-pilots-train-operators-and-drivers

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