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Ideas to Help You Get the Sleep You Need

Do you get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night? If not, you are in good company: researchers say that more than 35% of us get less than seven hours of sleep per night and that almost 30% of us get six or less hours of sleep per night on a regular basis. But, just because lots of people are falling short on sleep doesn’t mean you shouldn't get adequate sleep.

Sleep deprivation takes a serious toll on daily functioning and on long-term health. Sleep deprivation or interruption interferes with our normal metabolic rhythms and, over time, can cause lasting metabolic disturbances that can lead to weight gain, among other things. Chronic lack of sleep is also associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease. Even one sleepless night can have serious consequences, leaving us less able to learn, remember, and think clearly the next day. This can lead to poor functioning at work, or worse, to an increased risk of injuries and accidents. These effects are compounded if poor sleep continues.

But, if you’re having trouble sleeping, don't fret. Consider the following things that might improve your slumber:

  • Sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is a set of behaviors designed to help us develop habits that promote good sleep. Some of these behaviors include going to bed at the same time each night, rising at the same time each morning, and avoiding large meals before bedtime.
  • Sleep apnea. Get tested for sleep apnea. Numerous studies have shown that the consequences of sleep apnea are not just poor sleep quality, they can also include grogginess when you're awake, an inability to concentrate, depression, and accidents.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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