By Staff Reports
(DGIwire) — Sleep apnea, narcolepsy and insomnia are just a few of the disorders that keep people from getting enough sleep. Nearly half of all Americans reported having difficulty sleeping. According to The National Commission on Sleep Disorders, lack of sleep can be expensive. They estimate that sleep deprivation costs 150 billion a year in higher stress and reduced workplace productivity.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported statistics from two separate studies which revealed many people are chronically tired and may not be getting enough sleep. About 35% of the people surveyed in 12 states said they slept less than 7 hours a night on average. A national survey reported that 23% had trouble concentrating because they were tired, 18% had trouble remembering things and 11% had difficulty commuting or driving.
In addition, 48% said they snored, 38% admitted to unintentionally falling asleep during the day and almost 5% reported falling asleep or nodding off while driving over the prior 30 days!
Enough sleep is the amount of sleep an individual needs to not feel sleepy the next day. Insufficient sleep will make it difficult to function and can reduce the release of beneficial hormones that are released during sleep. While many people seem to function fine with 7 or less hours of sleep per night, most require at least 8 for optimal function and health. Our modern conveniences and lifestyles have drastically changed the quality of and number of hours we sleep. For some, it is considered a badge of honor to get by on as little sleep as possible. This is a big mistake.
“For tens-of-thousands of years before the introduction of electricity and light bulbs, people rose and set along with the sun. This seems to be the natural rhythm we were designed to follow. Late night TV, stimulants and meals have disrupted this cycle along with work schedules and the proliferation of ambient light. All these things throw off our natural circadian rhythms which disrupts the normal production of melatonin which is our natural sleep hormone,” according to Dian Griesel, Ph.D. and Tom Griesel, co-authors ofTurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust
Melatonin has many biological effects and it is also a powerful antioxidant with a particular role in the protection of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. Levels of the hormone melatonin vary in a daily cycle according to circadian rhythms which are also responsible for several other biological functions.
Tom Griesel adds, “It’s best for our bodies to cycle through the five known sleep stages four or five times a night. The first four stages are key to maintaining healthy metabolism, learning and memory. The fifth, rapid eye movement sleep (REM) is important for regulating mood and forming emotional memories. If you are regularly missing a cycle or two your brain function, immune system and heart health will suffer.”
The Griesels offer the following tips to improve your sleep time:
- Exercise regularly but at least 3 hours before bedtime. An evening walk is best.
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine like reading, taking a bath or relaxing in a hot tub.
- Avoid TV.
- Have a cup of chamomile tea an hour before bedtime.
- Get to bed at a regular time which will ensure at least 7-8 hours of sleep.
- Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, cool and comfortable.
All experts agree on the benefits of adequate sleep. Making sleep a priority will go a long way in improving your overall health and wellbeing.