Sleep Smart In­suf­fi­cient shut-eye: Are you in sleep debt?

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - NEWS - By Siloam Springs Re­gional Hospi­tal

If you’re like mil­lions of Amer­i­cans, the an­swer is yes. Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Sleep Foun­da­tion, as many as 62 per­cent of peo­ple in the United States lack suf­fi­cient shuteye for op­ti­mal health and pro­duc­tiv­ity.

In fact, more than half the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion ad­mits sleepi­ness in­ter­feres with the amount of work they com­plete daily and more than twothirds say it disrupts their con­cen­tra­tion lev­els and abil­i­ties to han­dle stress.

Ex­perts es­ti­mate that as an adult, your body re­quires ap­prox­i­mately eight hours of sleep each night (though some need more or less).

How­ever, re­cent sta­tis­tics re­port that the av­er­age Amer­i­can ac­tu­ally sleeps less than seven hours each night, and as many as one-third snooze for six-and-a-half hours or less. But you can do your part to keep your 40 winks from beef­ing up the na­tional sleep deficit. Use these prac­ti­cal tips to deepen (and lengthen) your sleep each night.

• Cut the caf­feine – While you prob­a­bly know that caf­feine is a stim­u­lant, you may not re­al­ize that each per­son’s sen­si­tiv­ity to the drug varies. Some can drink it later in the day and sleep fine, while oth­ers can drink a cup of cof­fee late in the morn­ing that keeps them up all night.

• Avoid al­co­hol – If you think that glass of wine will send you sleep­ing like a baby, think again. Al­co­hol may make you sleepy right away, but re­search shows that your sleep is less rest­ful and more likely to be in­ter­rupted.

• Shun heart­burn trig­gers – Chronic heart­burn af­fects mil­lions of Amer­i­cans. Since ly­ing flat ag­gra­vates the con­di­tion, night time is when most heart­burn suf­fer­ers feel the pain. Avoid foods that trig­ger heart­burn, es­pe­cially in the evening

• Ex­er­cise early – While ad­e­quate ex­er­cise is proven to as­sist in a good night’s sleep, it ac­tu­ally has an alert­ing ef­fect im­me­di­ately after­ward. Avoid ex­er­cis­ing at least three to five hours be­fore bed­time.

• Sched­ule your sleep – Per­haps the most ob­vi­ous (and most dif­fi­cult) strat­egy is to ac­tu­ally in­crease the time you spend in slum­ber. Try grad­u­ally adding 15 min­utes at a time to your nightly rou­tine un­til you’re catch­ing enough Zzzs.

Are you hav­ing trou­ble sleep­ing? Talk to your health care provider about schedul­ing an ap­point­ment with the Siloam Springs Re­gional Hospi­tal Sleep Cen­ter. Visit North­west­Health. com if you need as­sis­tance find­ing a provider or for more in­for­ma­tion about Sleep Medicine ser­vices at SSRH.

It re­freshes and reen­er­gizes, in­vig­o­rates the im­mune sys­tem, and fights fa­tigue. Af­ter our heads hit the pil­low, most of us don’t give a sec­ond thought to what hap­pens next. But sleep is ac­tu­ally more com­pli­cated than you may think.

There are ac­tu­ally two types of sleep: NREM (non­rapid eye move­ment) and REM (rapid eye move­ment).

Dur­ing the first half of the night, most peo­ple typ­i­cally be­gin with NREM, the most rest­ful type. NREM has four stages, with the first stage tran­si­tion­ing you from be­ing awake to be­ing asleep and stages three and four be­ing most rest­ful.

But to­ward morn­ing, your body be­gins ex­pe­ri­enc­ing REM sleep, which is where your dreams oc­cur. REM sleep is of­ten in­ter­spersed through­out in five-to 40-minute in­ter­vals, and tends to make sleep dur­ing this time less deep.

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