There’s a hidden epidemic sweeping the nation. It’s not a disease but a lack of a key ingredient for a healthy life: Sleep.
We simply don’t get enough of it, which damages our concentration, memory and general performance. Lack of sleep also kills, when drivers nod off at the wheel. In a 2009 survey, up to 7 percent of all drivers reported falling asleep while driving during the prior month.
But how much sleep is enough and how do we get it?’
According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) it’s 10 hours for school age children, 9 to 10 for teens and 7 to 8 for adults. Who regularly manages that adult figure these days? Not many! In fact, another study says 30 percent of us get 6 hours or less
Yet with just a few simple steps most of us can easily develop a healthy sleep habit:
- Go to bed and get up at about the same time each day;
- Avoid large meals before bedtime;
- Don’t consume caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime;
- Avoid nicotine;
- Get plenty of exercise but not for a few hours before bedtime;
- Don’t watch TV or use a computer immediately before retiring;
- Instead, make time to relax;
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
Many of these tips come from a guide produced by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).
Of course, it’s also possible that a health condition may be preventing restful sleep. The most common is sleep apnea, in which the breathing passageways block intermittently, causing the sufferer to wake, or come to the surface of wakefulness without knowing it, hundreds of times a night.
Symptoms include severe fatigue and headaches on waking.
If you suspect apnea may be a problem, you should seek professional medical advice. In the meantime, you can learn more about it from the American Sleep Apnea Association.
By the way, if you have any concerns or questions about your insurance protection, don’t lie awake worrying about it. Please give us a call and let’s talk.