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Categories > Sleep Disorders > Fighting fatigue

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Sleepy days and restless nights

» Sleep in good health

» Getting your zzzs

Sleep-tight tips

If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, these tips may help you rest easy. Talk to your healthcare provider if sleep troubles last more than a few weeks.

  • Avoid caffeine after 6 p.m.
  • Get regular exercise—but not within three hours of bedtime.
  • Save the bed for sleeping; read or watch TV in another room.
  • Don’t lie in bed “trying” to sleep. After 20 minutes of not sleeping, get up, leave the room and hit the sheets only when you feel drowsy.

How did you sleep last night? Better yet, how did you feel this morning when you awoke? Were you alert and refreshed or grumpy and tired? If you find yourself begging for your morning coffee to kick in, then you may not be getting enough zzzs.

Sleep loss can make you more than just tired and cranky. Research shows that even short-term sleep deprivation can be bad for your health.

Sleep in good health

While you sleep, your body secretes growth hormones that help your system function properly. If your sleep is fragmented, this process could be interrupted, reducing the amount of hormones your body creates. On the other hand, some scientists have found that even one night of sleep loss results in higher levels of stress hormones the next evening.

Sleeping can also help you fight off infections. A recent study found that people who experience a period of disrupted sleep have decreased levels of natural killer cells, which help keep the immune system strong.

In addition to being unhealthy, not getting enough sleep can be downright dangerous. Experts say 100,000 to 200,000 crashes each year involve drivers falling asleep at the wheel.

Getting your zzzs

The average adult usually needs around six to nine hours of sleep a night. However, this number is different for everyone and changes as you age. Once you figure out what your body needs, be sure to slot that much sleeping time into your daily schedule. You may think you have too much to do to go to bed early, but you’ll be surprised at how productive and efficient you’ll be once you get all the sleep you need!


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