Sleepless in America: Tips for a good night’s sleep

Americans of all races toss and turn in bed each night, and sleeplessness is affecting their jobs, social lives and even their sexual habits, the latest poll on U.S. sleep habits finds.

“Everybody is sleeping less; we do live in a nation of sleepy people,” said Dr. Jose Loredo, a professor of medicine and director of the Sleep Medicine Center at the University of California, San Diego, and a member of the committee that conducted the National Sleep Foundation poll, titled 2010 Sleep in America.

The survey of 1,007 adults across the country found that people sleep almost two hours less than they did 40 years ago. “You need about 8.5 hours of sleep a night,” he added.

“Sleep duration is a very important variable in health, especially cardiovascular health,” Loredo said. “There is a strong association of sleeping less and hypertension, sleeping less and heart attacks, sleeping less and obesity,” he said.

Many Americans seemingly know this, as more than three-quarters surveyed acknowledged that too little shuteye can have serious health consequences.

Too little sleep also takes a toll on daily living, with up to 24 percent saying they have missed work or social engagements because they were too tired. And among married people or couples living together, as many as 26 percent said that they were too tired to have frequent sex.

Sleep Better

The National Sleep Foundation offers these tips for getting a good night’s sleep:

  • Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Use the bedroom only for sleeping.
  • Consider taking the TV out of the bedroom.
  • Have a relaxing bedtime ritual, like a warm bath or listening to soft music.
  • Keep your sleep environment quiet, dark and cool with comfortable bedding.
  • Reduce caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.
  • Keep your worries for daytime.
  • If you can’t sleep, go to another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired.
  • Exercise regularly, but not close to bedtime.

For more information on sleep, visit the National Sleep Foundation.



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