Does it often take you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep at night? Or do you wake up frequently during the night — or too early in the morning — and have a hard time going back to sleep? When you awaken, do you feel groggy and lethargic? Do you feel drowsy during the day particularly during monotonous situations? If you answered YES to any of these questions, you make be suffering from a sleeping issue, and you are not alone.
America is currently a sleep deprived country. Overall sleep time is twenty percent less than a century ago! The importance of sleep is vital and is not getting the attention that it deserves.
The importance of sleep:
Restoration – energy to brain and body and allows for tissue growth and repair
Health – promotes healthy immune system, regulates hormones, growth, appetite, and mood
36% Americans drive drowsy/fall asleep – it is estimated that >100,000 auto crashes annually occur resulting in 1500 deaths.
29% drowsy or fall asleep at work
20% have lost interest in intimacy
14% have missed social/family functions due to excessive fatigue
Sleep Quantity and Quality
Sleep quality refers to sleep efficiency. TIME IN BED=TIME SLEEPING!!
Frequent interruptions can lead to loss of important sleep stages. Insomnia can result from medical or lifestyle/environmental contributors. Medical insomnia often refers to sleep apnea, narcolepsy or restless leg syndrome (RLS). Lifestyle/ environmental insomnia typical results from “sleep stealers.”
How much sleep is enough?AgeSleep NeedsNewborns (1-2mon)10.5-18 hoursInfants (3-11 mon)9-12 hour nights and 4 naps/dayToddlers (1-3yr)12-14 hoursChildren (3-5 yr)11-13 hoursChildren (5-12 yr)10-11 hoursTeens8.5-9.25 hoursAdults7-9 hoursOlder adults7-9 hours
Common Sleep Stealers
Psychological – stress in the number one cause of short-term insomnia
Lifestyle Stressors – irregular sleep/exercise schedule, alcohol, caffeine
Environment – temperature, light, noise, children/spouse, pets
Analyzing YOUR sleep habits
Look at your individual sleep patterns and behaviors. Keeping a sleep diary is a great way to document your sleep quality and quantity. It will also help you identify “sleep stealers.”
Identify fatigue level
Trouble staying awake during monotonous activities?
Difficulty concentrating or remembering facts?
Small changes YOU can make- Non-pharmacological Treatments and Solutions
Maintain regular sleep schedules – avoid “sleeping in” on weekends. Daily sunlight exposure is important as well
Avoid post lunch caffeine
Avoid nicotine and alcohol within 2 hours of bedtime
Exercise regularly and earlier in the day – goal 30 minutes most days of the week preferably late afternoon (4-6 hrs before bed- this allows your body to cool down before bed)
Save bedroom for sleep and intimacy ONLY
Relax/unwind before bed- try to keep T.V., computers and smart phones out of the bedroom
Avoid daytime napping
Control bedroom temperature- a cool environment is usually best
Don’t lie in bed awake- if unable to fall asleep within 10 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing like reading or listening to soft music until drowsy
Stay up later? Make gradual changes to schedule to improve sleep efficiency