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The Center for Sleep Medicine
Fast Facts: General Sleep Information
- The NIH estimates that over 60 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, 40 million of which experience chronic forms.
- Sleep disorders account for an estimated $16 billion in medical costs each year. The cost to US businesses due to the lack of productivity brought on by poor sleep is estimated at over $18 billion.
- The Department of Transportation attributes over 100,000 traffic accidents, over 70,000 injuries and over 1,500 fatalities to drowsy driving each year. Related costs are estimated at over $12 billion.
- The International Classification of Sleep Disorders presents well over 80 classified forms of sleep disorder.
- Approximately 90 million Americans snore, 37 million of which snore chronically.
- Approximately 60 million Americans suffer from insomnia.
Up to 15% of pregnant women develop restless legs syndrome during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy.
80% of patients that suffer from restless legs syndrome are thought to also have periodic limb movement disorder.
The National Sleep Foundation's 2005 Sleep in America poll found that 77% of respondents reported that their bed partner had a sleep disorder.
Those that were affected by their partner's disorder claimed losing an average of 49 minutes of sleep per night or over 300 hours of sleep per year as reported by the poll.
The NHLBI estimates that 18 million Americans suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. This includes 1 in 25 middle aged men and 1 in 50 middle aged women. Snoring is one of the main symptoms of sleep apnea.
What's the Secret to Good Sleep?
In general try to build into your schedule time for eight hours of sleep and follow this routine as regularly as possible. Even on the weekends. Here are a few tips many people have found to be useful:
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol in the late afternoon and evening. Caffeine and nicotine can delay your sleep, and alcohol may interrupt your sleep later in the night.
- Exercise regularly, but do so at least three hours before bedtime. A workout after that time may actually keep you awake because your body has not had a chance to cool down.
- Associate your bed with sleep. It's not a good idea to use your bed to watch TV, listen to the radio, or read.
- If you have trouble sleeping when you go to bed, don't nap during the day, since it affects your ability to sleep at night.
- Consider your sleep environment. Make it as pleasant, comfortable, dark and quiet as you can.
- Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine that will allow you to unwind and send a "signal" to your brain that it's time to sleep. Avoiding exposure to bright light before bedtime and taking a hot bath may help.
- If you can't go to sleep after 30 minutes, don't stay in bed tossing and turning. Get up and involve yourself in a relaxing activity, such as listening to soothing music or reading, until you feel sleepy. Remember: Try to clear your mind; don't use this time to solve daily problems.
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