Monday, March 7, 2011

Sleepy connected Americans
March 7, 2011 by Editor
 
The 2011 Sleep in America poll released today by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) finds pervasive use of communications technology in the hour before bed. It also finds that a significant number of Americans aren’t getting the sleep they say they need and are searching for ways to cope.

Americans report very active technology use in the hour before trying to sleep. Almost everyone surveyed, 95%, uses some type of electronics like a television, computer, video game or cell phone at least a few nights a week within the hour before bed. About two-thirds of baby boomers (67%) and generation X’ers (63%) and half of generation Z’ers (50%) and generation Y’ers (49%) watch television every night or almost every night within the hour before going to sleep.

“Artificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed at night suppresses release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, enhances alertness and shifts circadian rhythms to a later hour—making it more difficult to fall asleep,” says Charles Czeisler, PhD, MD, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “This study reveals that light-emitting screens are in heavy use within the pivotal hour before sleep. Invasion of such alerting technologies into the bedroom may contribute to the high proportion of respondents who reported that they routinely get less sleep than they need.”

For the more than a quarter who say their schedules do not allow for adequate sleep, when asked to evaluate the day after getting inadequate sleep, more than eight in ten (85%) said that it affects their mood; almost three-quarters (72%) said it affects their family life or home responsibilities, and about two-thirds (68%) said it affects their social life.

For those who are employed and report not getting adequate sleep, about three quarters (74%) of those over 30 said that sleepiness affects their work. About two-thirds of adults (61%) said that their intimate or sexual relations were affected by sleepiness (13-18 year olds were not asked this question).

Sleepiness also played a factor in safe driving practices. Half of generation Y’ers (50%) say they drove while drowsy at least once in the past month. More than a third of generation X’ers (40%) and approximately a third of generation Z’ers (30%) and baby boomers (28%) also say so. A staggering number, about one in ten, of generation X’ers (12%), generation Y’ers (12%) and generation Z’ers (8%) say they drive drowsy once or twice a week.

Healthy Sleep Advice

If you are having problems sleeping, the National Sleep Foundation suggests the following to improve your sleep:

Set and stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same times each day.
 

Expose yourself to bright light in the morning and avoid it at night. Exposure to bright morning light energizes us and prepares us for a productive day. Alternatively, dim your lights when it’s close to bedtime.
 
Exercise regularly. Exercise in the morning can help you get the light exposure you need to set your biological clock. Avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime if you are having problems sleeping.
 
Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Allow enough time to wind down and relax before going to bed.
  
Create a cool, comfortable sleeping environment that is free of distractions. If you’re finding that entertainment or work-related communications are creating anxiety, remove these distractions from your bedroom.
 
Treat your bed as your sanctuary from the stresses of the day. If you find yourself still lying awake after 20 minutes or so, get up and do something relaxing in dim light until you are sleepy.
 
Keep a “worry book” next to your bed. If you wake up because of worries, write them down with an action plan, and forget about them until morning.
 
Avoid caffeinated beverages, chocolate and tobacco at night.
 
Avoid large meals and beverages right before bedtime.
 
No nightcaps. Drinking alcohol before bed can rob you of deep sleep and can cause you to wake up too early.
  
Avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, ask your doctor or pharmacist if your medications might be contributing to your sleep problem.
 
No late-afternoon or evening naps, unless you work nights. If you must nap, keep it under 45 minutes and before 3:00 pm.

Source and/or read more: http://goo.gl/tYqil
  
Publisher and/or Author and/or Editor:__Andres Agostini ─ @Futuretronium at Twitter! Futuretronium Book at http://3.ly/rECc