Sleep and Your Health: The Zs Have It

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Do you treat sleep as a luxury, a few brief hours of rest squeezed in between home, work, family and social obligations?  Think again—a sensible and sufficient sleep schedule is of prime importance to your good health and well being.  Many people have a hard time making the connection, accepting fatigue, lethargy and more serious complaints as a fact of life or a product of our hectic lifestyles.  But what if we understood better how essential quality sleep is, and began to apply some self care by making healthy sleep a priority instead of an afterthought?  Consider these sleep facts and statistics:

  • The American Psychological Association cites a National Sleep Foundation (NSF) survey indicating that 40 million or more Americans suffer from at least 70 different types of sleep disorders.
  • 60% of adults report experiencing sleep problems several nights a week or more.  For most, these issues go undiagnosed and untreated.
  • Daytime sleepiness impacts up to 40 percent of adults significantly enough to cause disruption of their daily activities several days a month.
  • Sleep deprivation played a role in the human errors attributed to causing the Challenger space shuttle explosion, Chernobyl nuclear disaster and Exxon Valdez oil spill.
  • The National Sleep Research Project maintains that if it takes less than five minutes for you to fall asleep at night, you are sleep deprived.  10-15 minutes is suggested as the ideal, a balance between being tired enough to sleep deeply but not so tired you are sleepy during the day.
  • Light and darkness are important to regulation of good sleep habits.  Living and working space should be well lit during the day, from both natural and artificial sources. At night, sleep in a room kept as dark as possible.  If you get up, minimize disruption to your sleep cycle by using low wattage lamps or night lights where safe and practical, and return to sleep as quickly as possible.

Every individual has unique sleep requirements to function at an optimal level, but 7-8 hours a night would be a good starting point.  Depending on age, physical condition, activities and other factors, your personal needs may fluctuate.  Observing and tracking your own sleep patterns can help determine your ideal sleep time, or identify potential issues to discuss with your healthcare provider.

“Speaking of Healthcare” is the official blog of Assured Healthcare Staffing. Please LIKE us on Facebook to receive health and wellness tips and more! Article by Kim Washetas, contributing writer, enthusiastic whole health advocate and Reiki practitioner.