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You Need 7-to-9 Hours of Sleep

By on April 28, 2012

How many times have you pulled an all-nighter? Worked a double shift at work and drove a long distance? Poor sleep patterns among Americans is harmful and can result in dangerous accidents. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 20% of the more than 42,500 U.S. vehicle crashes a year  are linked to driving while drowsy.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends healthy U.S. adults sleep 7-9 hours  per day, but 30% of civilian-employed U.S. adults — about 40.6 million  workers — reported getting fewer than 6 hours of sleep per day on average, the  report said.

“The prevalence of short sleep duration fewer than 6 hours per day varied by  industry of employment with a significantly higher rate of short sleep duration  among workers in manufacturing — 34.1% — compared with all workers  combined,” the report said.

“Among all workers, those who usually worked the night shift had a much  higher prevalence of short sleep duration — 44% representing  approximately 2.2 million night-shift workers — than those who worked the day  shift at 28.8%, representing approximately 28.3 million day-shift  workers.”

To increase the chances for a more restful sleep, consider these options:

Set a sleep schedule

Try and schedule a consistent bedtime. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle and helps promote better sleep at night. If you agonize over falling asleep, you might find it even tougher to nod off.

Watch what you eat and drink

Don’t go to bed hungry or feeling like a stuffed pig. Your discomfort might keep you up. Also limit how much you drink before bed, to prevent disruptive middle-of-the-night trips to the toilet. Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol are things to watch too.

Create a bedtime ritual

Tell your body it’s time to wind down by doing the same thing each night, like  taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music — preferably with the lights dimmed.


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