How to Get Better Sleep and More of It

One of the simplest things you can do for your health is to get enough sleep, say experts. Unfortunately, many Americans have difficulty sleeping, making this seem like a simple task, but it can be anything but simple.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average American sleeps about six hours and 55 minutes per night during the week, and 15 percent of adults sleep less than six hours per night.

“Lack of sleep can take a significant toll on your overall health and interfere with some of your daily activities,” said Dr. Michael Thorpy, director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York.

Blackout Shades Help You Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night? The importance of a good night’s sleep is well known. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adequate sleep has been associated with a better mood, better health and better job performance. It’s important to address factors that might interfere with a good night’s sleep. Light is one of these factors. The body responds to light as a cue to stay awake, so sleeping in a dark, quiet room can help you fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up refreshed.

10 Tips for Better Sleep Hygiene

<b>10 Tips for Better Sleep Hygiene</b>“></td>
<td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Between office meeting and errands, sports practice and studies, many people sacrifice sleep for a few more hours of productivity. According to the National Sleep Foundation, fewer than half of Americans report getting adequate sleep every night.

But sleep deprivation results in more than just yawns. Inadequate sleep has been linked to depression, weight gain, hypertension, poor concentration and memory retention, and accidents.

Take driving, an activity that most Americans perform daily. In a recent National Sleep Foundation poll, 54 percent of respondents said that they have driven while drowsy. Twenty-eight percent confessed to falling asleep at the wheel. People know that alcohol impairs driving, but too few consider sleep deprivation’s effect on their motor skills. Drowsy driving causes thousands of accidents each year.

Setting aside seven to eight hours for sleeping isn’t a luxury -; it’s a necessity. The American Sleep Apnea Association offers 10 tips for better sleep hygiene:

1. Set a sleep schedule, and stick to it.

2. Don’t nap for more than 45 minutes a day.

3. Avoid excessive alcohol intake within four hours of bedtime. Do not smoke.

4. Avoid caffeine six hours before bedtime.

5. Avoid spicy food six hours before bedtime.

6. Exercise regularly, but not right before bed.

7. Use comfortable bedding.

8. Keep your room at a comfortable temperature.

9. Block out noise, and eliminate as much light as possible.

10. Do not use the bed as an office, workroom or recreation room.

If you feel tired even after sleeping eight hours, an undiagnosed sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea, may be to blame. In sleep apnea, the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep, blocking the airway. Sufferers wake up for a few seconds every time they stop breathing, sometimes hundreds of times a night. Visit www.sleepapnea.org to find out your “Snore Score,” or the likelihood that you have sleep apnea. The disorder can be treated, so it’s important to speak to a doctor if you experience excessive daytime fatigue.