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Get More, Better Sleep: Put These 5 Sleep-Stealing Behaviors to Rest

According to the CDC, 35 percent of the population gets less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep, putting everyone at risk for nightmares.

By Leah Zerbe

tags: SLEEP



Get More, Better Sleep: Put These 5 Sleep-Stealing Behaviors to Rest

About 40% of U.S. adults say they've fallen asleep accidentally in the daytime.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study exposes nightmarish sleep statistics nationwide. More than 35 percent of adults surveyed for the CDC study admitted to getting less than seven hours of sleep at night. It isn't enough, and that increases the risk of all sorts of problems, including high blood pressure and car accidents. (Drowsy driving accounts for roughly 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries annually in the United States, making it one of the most lethal consequences of not getting enough shut-eye.)

Nearly 38 percent of adults also admitted accidentally falling asleep during the day in the last month, while about 5 percent said they nodded off or fell asleep while driving(!). Clearly, sleep-starved people are not only a danger to themselves, but to everyone around them, as well.

Here's how to get better sleep and avoid dangerously drowsy situations:

• Hone in on hitting 7 to 9. If you're having trouble sleep seven to nine hours through the night, consider making some simple changes to help lull your body into sleep mode.

Sleep better: After the sun sets, really focus on limiting your exposure to artificial light. All of those fake bright lights after dark are snuffing sleep-inducing melatonin production, which also has been linked to high blood pressure and diabetes. Cut out screen time (TV, computer, cellphone) an hour or two before bed, and keep lights dim to coax your body off to lullaby land.

• Deter drowsy driving. Researchers have shown that drowsy drivers are nearly as hazardous as people driving under the influence. Unfortunately, about 17 percent of fatal car accidents involve sleepy driver.

Sleep better: Certainly, making it a point to nab seven to nine hours of sleep a night is a great way to drive under safer conditions. The problem is, some people don't realize they're driving drowsy. If you're yawning, experiencing heavy eyelids, having trouble thinking straight, missing exits, or drifting out of your lane, it's time to park it. By the way, it's a myth that opening the windows or turning up the radio will keep you alert enough to drive safely. If you're on the road and experience extreme drowsiness, find a safe parking lot area to park, and set your cellphone alarm so you can get a 20-minute power nap to fuel you for more driving.

Published on: March 7, 2011
Updated on: April 23, 2013



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