Sure, there’s plenty to worry about these days: The economy, job security and family issues. It’s enough to lose sleep over. Not that we need any help from sleep deprivation. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), one out of 10 adults has insomnia so severe that it has daytime consequences. As many as 30 percent of adults have symptoms of insomnia, which may include feeling grumpy, tired or falling asleep during the day, as well as having trouble concentrating at work. Of course, we may have these symptoms as a result of being out too late or just a bad night’s sleep.
“Sleep deprivation is really 99 percent of what we deal with in sleep medicine,” says Jose Martinez-Salas, MD, who practices critical care, pulmonology, sleep medicine and internal medicine at Gessler Clinic in Winter Haven. “It can significantly affect people’s lives.”
For most people, insomnia fades away in a few days. Stress or depression, however, can prompt insomnia that last weeks, according to the AASM. The key is practicing proper sleep hygiene and being informed about the necessity of a good night’s sleep.
“Children and teens need 9 to 9 1/2 hours of sleep a night, and as they age into adults, they need between 7 and 7 1/2 hours each night,” Martinez-Salas says. “Unfortunately, we don’t dedicate as much time as we should to getting the amount of sleep that we should.”
Visit www.sleepeducation.com for facts about troubles with sleep. This includes a sleepiness scale, sleep evaluations, links to resources, and even a blog. If you suspect you have a sleeping disorder, consult your primary doctor.
Some ways Martinez-Salas suggests combating sleepless nights include:
1. “Realizing sleep is a necessity, and be as dedicated to it as you would be to eating.”
- “Designate the bedroom for sleep and sex only,” Martinez-Salas asserts. Many people read, watch TV, pay bills, and get on the computer in bed, but Martinez-Salas says this works against making the bedroom a restful environment for sleep.
- He also suggests light exercise. “Exercising lightly is a wonderful way to tire out your body,” says Martinez-Salas. However, he warns against exercising close to bedtime.
- “Don’t eat right before bed or go to bed on a full stomach,” he advises.
- “Also, alcohol works against achieving a night of quality sleep.”
- “Sometimes taking a warm shower before bed will make you drowsy,” he adds.
- “Make sure your bedroom is a dark, quiet, cool room,” Martinez-Salas says. “Our bodies react to knowing an environment is dedicated to sleeping.”
- “Go to sleep at a reasonable hour and wake up with the sunrise,” Martinez-Salas concludes. “The later you sleep in the morning, the later you will stay up at night. It shifts your internal clock.”
story by JEFF SCHNAUFER