Sleep plays such an important role in your physical and mental health. The National Institute of Health says, "It is involved in healing and repairing your heart and blood vessels and that ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke." The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) has conducted multiple surveys and found that millions of people do not get enough sleep and furthermore, many suffer from lack of sleep. Other surveys conducted by the NSF (1999-2004) reveal that at least 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders and 60 percent of adults report having sleep problems a few nights a week or more. This author finds these statistics shocking and disturbing. Also, most of those with these sleep problems go undiagnosed and untreated. In addition, more than 40 percent of adults experience daytime sleepiness severe enough to interfere with their daily activities at least a few days each month - with 20 percent reporting problem sleepiness a few days a week or more. Additionally, 69 percent of children experience one or more sleep problems a few nights or more during a week.
Lack of sleep and tiredness during the day can lead to ineffective job or school performance, poor judgement, inability to preform simple problem solving decisions and falling asleep at your desk or in your car. The Department of Transportation reports that 1-4 percent of all accidents results from sleepy or sleeping drivers. But what can we do to prevent poor sleep?
It isn't always as easy as saying, "just go to bed early and go to sleep." Certainly there are sleep routines and behaviors we should develop and participate on a nightly routine basis. These can include: going to bed at the same time every night. Determine when you need to go to bed in order to go to sleep and get 6-8 hours before waking at your "usual" morning time. Perform the same night time activities such as washing up, brushing and flossing your teeth and reading a few pages of a good book or a boring book for that matter. Play soft music with your bedroom lights dimmed and practice deep breathing exercises. Perhaps use a diffuser and diffuse lavender and sage cleary at night. If you have sleep apnea, fill your distilled water in your clean reservoir of your machine and apply your breathing apparatus before going to sleep. As you try to go to sleep, perform progressive relaxation techniques that promotes you to relax each of your body's parts. Speak to your personal care provider about over the counter sleep aids and prescription medications.
National Institute for Health
National Sleep Foundation
American Psychological Association
Dana White has been a nurse for over 25 years and has been cycling since she was very young.. She has health and cycling tips that aim to impact lives, She is an avid cyclist and jokes that her mom is in the Guinness book of world records for being the first woman to give birth to Dana and then to a bicycle.