Did you know that in the US, drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes a year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths? US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Alberta Motor Association estimates that 15 per cent of all drivers have reported falling asleep while driving. Dr. Ward Flemons, medical director of the Alberta Lung Association’s Sleep Centre, Foothills Hospital says, “Between 30 to 40 per cent of the population receives insufficient sleep.” Obviously many of us need to sleep better and improve our sleep hygiene. Need more reasons?
When you are sleep deprived you are 6 to 7 times more likely to have a car accident. Also, chronic sleep loss can increase your chances of having diabetes and gaining weight. More than that, for many people, sleep deprivation affects their productivity, focus, relationships and ability to smile. Mother Teresa and, probably your mother, would not like that!
Women get Less Sleep Than Men
In an article on emdicinehealth, is this statement; “Women are twice as likely as men to have difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep.” Plus women, who have children and employment, are even more sleep deprived.
Both Cindi Leive, of Glamour magazine and Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, encourage women to go to bed earlier, stay longer and have a sweet nap. Huffington reported a wake-up call when she collapsed from exhaustion resulting in a broken cheekbone and stitches over her eye.
In addition, to making you more accident prone, walking around sleep deprived can make you vulnerable to headaches, illness, stress in bones and muscles, weight gain and plain grouchiness. That then affects your energy to face challenges, to create harmonious relationships and to make wise decisions. When I don’t get enough sleep my head feels as if it is filled with toilet paper!
Consider that sleep deprivation is used to torture prisoners. It makes the prisoner crazy and willing to admit to anything. We need to have our brains functioning to face the challenges we have taken on.
Dr. Michael Breus, Ph.D., author of Beauty Sleep: Look Younger, Lose Weight, and Feel Great Through Better Sleep recommends a minimum of 7.5 hours of sleep. Experiment yourself to find the correct amount for you. I need 8 to 9 hours while my husband does well on 7.5 to 8 hours. And I am not lazy. We need to get that kind of negative self chatter out of our head if we want to function at our most powerful, creative and resilient best.
Twelve Ways to Sleep Better
- Go to bed at a consistent time, after brushing your teeth, washing your face and saying “I love you,” if not to a lover, to yourself.
- Develop some relaxing bedtime rituals like bubble baths, listening to soothing music, light reading, star or navel gazing.
- Exercise earlier in the day rather than revving your body into high speed at night.
- Be selective about your TV viewing—Arnold Schwarzenegger seldom sings lullabies.
- Minimize alcohol as it can disturb your stages of sleep, even creating a wake up and internal alarm bell startle in the middle of the night. Avoid that kind of Ding Dong.
- Minimize stimulants like caffeine and nicotine. Instead try some warm milk or chewing on some Tums—calcium calms.
- Remember Phyllis Diller’s advice to “Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.” Sort out your problems rather than take them into your dream world.
- If you’re lucky enough to sleep with someone, have a snuggle up against that person’s heart beat. It can warm your ticker and calm your mind. Babies know how to do this and you can relearn.
- If that lucky bed partner snores loudly, give yourself permission to sleep in separate bedrooms for sleep.
- If you have thoughts spinning in your head, breathe and focus on your feet, even rubbing your feet on the sheets. We want your excess energy moved down, lower in your body. It’s called “grounding yourself.”
- Designate a WORRY CHAIR somewhere outside your bedroom to dump your daily troubles. Pick them up in the morning–if you must.
- If your troubles are large, to the point of continued sleep disturbance, which may include night terrors, arrange for some counseling.
However, if you have insomnia or suspect you have sleep apnea or another type of sleep disorder, please have your doctor refer you to a sleep specialist.
You and your dear ones deserve a rested and lively YOU.