Think those long hours at work and few hours of sleep aren’t catching up to you? Wish you had the time to sleep as much as you need? Americans consistently receive fewer hours of sleep than the body actually requires to perform at an optimal level. The National Geographic News article headlining “U.S. Racking Up Huge ‘Sleep Debt,’” maintains that a majority of Americans continue to contribute injurious risk to their lives by not receiving the proper amount of sleep. Sleep deprivation not only reduces mental alertness, but also decreases the ability of the immune system to fight off disease and contributes to work related accidents where people are sleepwalking through their day. Addiction to coffee isn’t eliminating the problem either. It is merely masking a greater issue.
The National Center on Sleep Disorders Research concurs that nearly 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep related problems. So in a nation that never sleeps, working eight hours or more, in addition to responsibilities at home, how can you rectify your own poor sleeping habits? The best method of identifying and treating persistent sleep deprivation is visiting a certified sleep specialist. Submitting yourself for testing will help to determine the exact cause of your restless nights. Many options are now available, from noninvasive surgical procedures to prescription sleeping pills. The FDA provides approval for sleep medication, however there are still many concerns about the addictive nature of these substances if taken over a long period of time. Another option includes homeopathic remedies, or even the thought training practice of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.
However, it is also necessary to look at your sleepless nights and restless days. Perhaps the answer simply lies in getting more sleep. If you work around the clock, stay up until midnight dealing with additional stressful duties, then rise again at six a.m., your problem may be solved with a simple, yet unrealized solution. Get more sleep. Put yourself back on the list of priorities and realize that sleep falls into the same category as food and water. It is a prime necessity for optimal function and healthful living, and you need to make time for it. So put down that To Do list. Relax with a cup of warm milk. Curl up for a full eight hours. And don’t forget, for those noisy neighbors keeping you up all night, earplugs are a beautiful thing. Sweet dreams.