Healthwatch: Getting Enough Sleep

NIH also notes that health problems associated with lack of sleep are costing nearly $14 billion every year.

What could help you prevent diabetes, hypertension, and obesity? Get a good night's sleep. Impossible, you say? Yet it's true.

Especially since we will be setting the clocks forward over the weekend, losing a precious hour of sleep no one can afford.

Well, listen up. There are some simple solutions from the national sleep foundation to be sure you get the 7 to 9 hours of sleep recommended for adults and 10 to 11 hours school aged kids need to stay healthy.

First off, forget it's Saturday. We all look to the weekend as a time to catch up on sleep, but sleep experts say it is important to keep your body clock on the same time. So, no more lazy weekend mornings. You should get up at the same time every day.

If you need a few extra hours of shut eye, you can take a nap, but only if it is for an hour or less and before 3:00 p.m., otherwise you run the risk of having trouble falling asleep at night.

While you are awake, expose yourself to as much daylight as possible. A 45 minute daily walk outdoors is recommended. No caffeine between 4 and 6 hours before you go to bed.

No more than two alcoholic drinks per day. Some suggest no drinks up to four hours before bedtime. Exercising after a long day can relieve stress, but it revs you up.

Sleep doctors say doing so, too close to bed time, can keep you awake, as can the stimulant effects of nicotine, so no smoking either.

Use your bedroom for sleep. Do not use it as an office, a place to read, or to watch TV.

And if you have trouble sleeping or wake up in the middle of the night, leave the bedroom and go read or listen to relaxing music. Go back to bed when you are sleepy. And whatever you do, don't look at the clock. This will just stress you out, and keep you up.

And as we lose an hour of sleep Saturday night, sleep experts say, don't sleep in on Sunday to make up for that lost sleep.

Read more Healthwatch articles here.


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