This week is National Sleep Awareness week, so it’s a good time to look at your personal sleeping habits and patterns to see where you can improve. According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 35% of the 74,571 Americans surveyed back in 2009 got less than seven hours of sleep per night, and 38% admitted to falling asleep unexpectedly during the day at some point within the 30-day period before the survey was given, and an alarming 5% did so while driving down the road.
Sleep is as important to a person’s overall health as exercise and a healthy diet, and getting too little sleep can lead to health problems like obesity, depression, heart disease and diabetes. If you’re among the 35% of people getting too little sleep at night, you can try a number of tactics to help yourself improve. For example, keeping a regular sleep schedule and avoiding strenuous activities like exercise in the 2 hours before you go to bed can help you fall asleep easier. Avoiding stimulating drugs, especially caffeine and nicotine in the evening will help you wind down and relax easier, as well sleeping in a dark, quiet space and not going to bed on an empty stomach.
Ironically, National Sleep Awareness Week takes place the week before we’re scheduled to lose an hour of sleep during Daylight Savings Time in the early hours of Sunday morning.