A recent survey of over 30,000 people around the world found Americans to be high on the list when it comes to sleep deprivation! The survey was conducted by the Phillips Center for Health and Well-Being and determined that 37% of American respondents feel that they are not getting the sleep they need. What does this mean? Sleep deprivation can lead to decreased job performance, strain on personal relationships and lower overall mental and physical health.
Why are we not getting enough sleep? No big surprises in the responses. 49% blamed stress and worries. Work, the economy and health care costs were cited as the most frequent causes of stress. Fortunately, simple changes in behavior can put you on the right path to getting proper sleep.
Dr. Craig Schwimmer of The Snoring Center explains, “Collectively referred to as Sleep Hygiene, these practices can dramatically improve the quantity and quality of your sleep better, in many cases, than even prescription sleeping pills. To put Sleep Hygiene into perspective, I tell my patients to think about how we treat bedtime for kids and the patterns and practices that make putting our children to sleep easier.
“For starters, a regular bedtime is a must. Our bodies love predictability and consistency, so going to sleep at the same time each night and waking at the same time every morning is an important first step. Next, a bedtime ritual (think “bath, story, kiss, goodnight” for kids) is also helpful. For adults, regularly engaging in light reading, gentle stretching, a cup of herbal tea or other relaxing bedtime habits are recommended.
“Next, limit your time in bed to two things: sleep and sex. If you aren’t doing either of those things, get out of bed. We want your brain to associate being in bed with only these two things (not paying bills, worrying about the deficit or planning your next meeting).
“Another good habit? See the sun every morning. This is a powerful way to reinforce your innate biological rhythm and can make falling asleep at bedtime easier.”
So don’t worry – be happy! And a good night’s sleep will help get you there!