National Sleep Awareness Week is April 23-29. I know there seems to be a national day, week or month for everything from ice cream sundaes to foot pain, but this is one I’m willing to investigate further.
Some Sleep Facts:
According to The National Institutes of Health, 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep-related problems.
The National Awareness Roundtable found that problems falling or staying asleep are an under-recognized national health issue that’s been associated with health consequences including diabetes, depression, heart attack, hypertension, being overweight and at-risk behaviors such as driving drowsy and drug usage.
The National Sleep Foundation provides the following sleep facts:
Man is the only mammal that willingly delays sleep.
Divorced, widowed and separated people report more insomnia
According to the results of NSF’s 2008 Sleep in America poll, 36 percent of Americans drive drowsy or fall asleep while driving.
Sleep is as important as diet and exercise.
In general, exercising regularly makes it easier to fall asleep and contributes to sounder sleep. However, exercising sporadically or right before going to bed will make falling asleep more difficult.
When infants are put to bed drowsy but not asleep, they are more likely to become “self- soothers,” which enables them to fall asleep independently at bedtime and put themselves back to sleep during the night.
People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have bigger appetites due to the fact that their leptin levels (leptin is an appetite-regulating hormone) fall, promoting appetite increase.
A recent study on how much sleep we need at various stages of life found that for adults, ages 26-64 years of age, seven to nine hours of sleep per night are recommended. For adults, ages 65+, seven to eight hours of sleep per night are optimal. You can see the entire study here:
What can we do to promote good sleep?
According to the Mayo Clinic …
Establish a sleep schedule and stick to it. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including on weekends.
Don’t go to bed hungry or too full and limit how much you drink a few hours before going to bed.
We sleep best when the room is cool and dark and quiet. Try to establish these things before bed.
I’d like to add unplugging to this list. Recent studies have found that the light from TVs, computers, tablets and cell phones interrupt brain waves making sleep more difficult to achieve. Try to make unplugging several hours before bedtime a nightly habit for better sleep.
And, here’s one more thing to try, a yummy smoothie from Karliin Brooks, author of Squeeze Life and the founder of The Squeeze, a cleansing and juicing lifestyle brand located in NYC.
She says, “Cherries have many benefits, such as reducing pain and inflammation, but cherries also improve your sleep since they contain melatonin.”
2 handsful of fresh spinach
1 cup frozen cherries, pitted
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp almond butter
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Blend all ingredients together until silky smooth.
Here’s to many good nights’ of sleep.
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