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Better Sleep Month

May is Better Sleep Month!

Are you sleeping like a baby? Then you probably already know the secret of a good night's rest.

However, millions of Americans, adults, teens and children don't get enough sleep each night. Some of the results of chronic sleep deprivation include, daytime drowsiness, irritability, loss of concentration, and reduced ability to problem solve. Skimping on sleep can lead to obesity and lowered resistance to disease. Problems with sleep can lead to high costs. Sleepiness during the daytime increases the risk of accidents of all types-- traffic, industrial and home. There are many reasons that we don't get enough sleep. Read the facts below and get in the know!

Some Common Sleep Problems

Difficulty falling asleep, and staying asleep. Sometimes people have problems with the beginning of sleep. They go to bed and try to relax, but find themselves unable to drift off. Problems getting to sleep can be caused by too much caffeine, stress, lack of good sleep preparation, noise, light or even depression.

There are many types of sleep disorders. Snoring is a common complaint. Sometimes, with depression, people over-sleep while at the same time, experiencing exhaustion and lethargy. When people are depressed and stressed, a common pattern is to have difficulty going to sleep and staying asleep. Depression is linked with early morning awakening. Depressed persons may awaken as early as 2-4 a.m. with their minds racing, unable to fall back asleep If you think depression may be the reason you are not getting enough rest, and the problem persists—talk to your doctor or call the HAP Coordinated Behavioral Health Management team at 1-800-444-5755 to receive information on how to get help.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea. Excessive loud snoring can be a signal of a disorder called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when breathing is temporarily obstructed or stopped during sleep. When a person has sleep apnea, he or she is oxygen deprived for brief periods of time. This serious disorder can lead to heart problems, neurological problems, and a whole host of negative effects associated with sleep deprivation. People who are overweight are at higher risk for sleep apnea. If others have complained about your snoring, or if you are frequently awakened during the night by your snoring, you should speak with your doctor. He or she may want to schedule you for a test at a Sleep Disorder Clinic for further investigation of this problem.

For more information about Sleep apnea:
http://www.sleepapnea.org/info/index.html

Daytime Drowsiness. Whether we get enough sleep or not, most of us carry on with our daily schedules. If you find yourself feeling drowsy often during the day, its time to change your sleep habits.

One way to find out how much sleep you really need is to count the hours you sleep when you don't set the alarm on a weekend. If you feel rested when you get get up, you may actually need that amount of sleep each night. Do you really have to watch that extra hour of TV?

Driving and Sleepiness. Drowsy driving is a serious danger! If you feel you are struggling to stay awake while driving, pull over. You may want to change drivers if possible, or take time to get a cup of coffee, stretch or even nap briefly.

Teenagers and Sleep. Recent studies on teenage sleep patterns have indicated that too often, teenagers are not getting the amount of sleep they really need. According to research, teenagers may be somewhat "programmed" to stay awake longer in the evenings and to sleep in longer in the morning. Early morning schedules for school may cut their sleep time short, leaving them tired and sleepy during the day. Like the rest of us, teenagers sleep and wakefulness is influenced by daylight, but they may need more total hours of sleep than an adult. Read more about this on the links provided below:

http://www.sleepfoundation.org/hottopics/index.php?secid=18

Helping children to sleep. Children, like teens, need an hour or two more sleep time than most adults. Parents need to practice good "going to bed" rituals to help their young children slow down and get ready for sleep. For help with this, please view the link below.

http://www.sleepforkids.org/

General Suggestions for a better night's sleep. As you get ready to go to bed each night, establish a pattern, or ritual to help you get ready for sleep. Too much stimulation just prior to going to bed may prolong the time it takes to get to sleep.

Exercise is good for sleep, but make sure that you give yourself a few hours between finishing your exercise and going to bed. Avoid eating a heavy meal and alcohol use and, of course, stay away from stimulants like coffee or tea just prior to bedtime. Make sure your sleeping place is quiet, and calming. Reserve your bedroom for sleep, remove the TV or desk.

Links for further information about sleep and sleep disorders:

http://www.sleepfoundation.org/about/index.php
http://www.sleepnet.com/

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