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Healthy You

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Monday, January 16, 2012 8:22 AM
Tags: sleep

More than 30 percent of working Americans report less than six hours of sleep a night.

Studies show that regularly sleeping less than six to seven hours a night may be associated with:

  • Decreased performance on the job
  • A higher risk of car accidents
  • An increased risk of cardiovascular disease, colon polyps, and metabolic problems
  • An increased risk of mortality

A common myth is that people can make up for a lack of sleep by sleeping longer on the weekends. Yet according to Cathy Goldstein, MD, Neurologist and expert in sleep medicine at NorthShore, the body does not have the ability to catch up or make up for chronic sleep deprivation.

Dr. Goldstein offers the following tips for getting a good night’s sleep:

  • Be vigilant about getting enough sleep.
  • For shift workers or those who are forced to sleep on what would normally be waking hours, use bright light therapy or over-the-counter melatonin supplements. 
  • Leave electronics like laptops and BlackBerry devices out of the bedroom.
  • Avoid exercise, heavy meals and alcohol in the hours before bedtime. 
  • Keep the bedroom cool and dark during the night.

Patients with actual sleep disorders like sleep apnea are urged to talk to their physician and undergo a sleep study for diagnosis and treatment.

How many hours of sleep do you typically get a night? What do you do to ensure a good night’s sleep?