The Benefits of Sleep
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Research tells us that a good sleep leads to good moods and increased brain activity. However a lack of sleep can lead to trouble. Better has more in this in-depth lifestyle study.


Audra Lowe: Now something special every month of this year we are going to bring you in-depth stories that are going to help you live better. This month we are talking about sleep all of us have had some sort of issues related to the topic of some point in time in our lives. Research shows that a good snooze makes you feel better increases brain activity and even keeps you happier, but a lack of sleep is becoming the norm in the modern society. So what causes sleep problems and how in the world how you fix them. We turn to some experts to find out in today's Live Better. Female Speaker: It's pretty fair to say that across the board most of us are not getting enough hours to sleep at night. Male Speaker: On average probably 4 to 5. Female Speaker: I probably get lay 5 or 6 hours. Male Speaker: Like 4. Female Speaker: In fact Dr. David Rapoport, the Director of the NYU Langone Sleep Disorder Center, says that we reduce the amount of sleep as the society by an hour. David Rapoport: It's basically the fact that our lifestyle and the forces of social forces on us, have made us restrict the number of hours we spend in bed. There is a tremendous variation in how much sleep a given person needs. Margit Ragland: A woman who gets less than 7 hours of sleep at night is three times more likely to get them to be ill than someone who gets 8 or more hours asleep. Female Speaker: Margit Ragland, Family Circle Magazine's health director says woman in particular guilty of not getting enough sleep. Margit Ragland: We feel like we got to get so much time you got to get that last email that out at night time we need to do one more lot of laundry the average woman should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Female Speaker: When I was in college used to be able to sleep all the time, now I've got a thousand things going into my head and different things I want to do so my brain won't let me go to sleep. And its not bad stuff its good stuff this is all I needed this I wanted to that I need to email that person, I need to text that person its even worse if I forgot to turn off my phone. If I forget to turn off my cell phone forgot it, its like bzzzzz all my night. Margit Ragland: Turn off those screens, is one tip that we really recommend you know whether it's your handheld, it's your laptop, it's your TV turn those off. Make your bedroom a haven. So turn down that lights in the evening time pull down that and buy some blackening shades so it darken your room keep it dark, buy yourself some really soft sheets or pillows and that you really enjoy and get rid of the extraneous stuff you don't need it. If you have of a piece of exercise equipment in the side of your room it just become a co- hanger get rid of that in terms of the temperature of your room keep the temperature of your room between 60 and 68 degrees the cooler temperature it lowers your core body temperature which helps bring on sleep. Get on the regular sleep schedule. David Rapoport: The way you get to sleep is to have little routine that calms your body down. Female Speaker: Four things you should not do close to bedtime, exercise, drink too much caffeine; eat a heavy meal or drinking excessive amount of alcohol. Clearly lack of sleep can make you bit irritable but there are more dramatic effects. David Rapoport: For people who have not had an optimal amount of sleep have difficulty concentrating, remembering they are little slower in not only mental activity, but actually physical activity there is no compelling data to show that athletics. They will cautious remedy of the session of the football team has to sleep at the night before the big game wells that's turned out to be correct your reaction time is slowed if you haven't had enough sleep. What has been shown over and over again. Is it those who are sleepy which is a large fraction of the people who are you know in this country and in fact worldwide you recognize that you are sleepy that you feel sleepy but you think you are fighting it and in fact you are not. Female Speaker: And the problem is fighting that sleepiness can be deadly. David Rapoport: If it happens to be behind the wheel of an 18 wheeler truck on a highway that has a curve in it, this can have catastrophic consequences or you have a near miss kind of a situation were you do react but you realize that you didn't see it coming -- stop and you are almost up to their bumper before you react that's the kind of thing which has a huge price in terms of our health in well being and that's the consequence of sleep deprivation or insufficient sleep. Female speaker: Of course there are prescription sleeping aids and over the counter ones. David Rapoport: There is a debate about of where they should be used I think in general we all feel that if you don't need them it would be better not to use them the majority of the over the counter sleep aids that's you can get at a drug store are actually in a class called the antihistamines that the same drugs we used for allergies and they work they do put you to sleep they are modestly sedating but they are not best that the drugs out there. Female Speaker: So when did too many restless nights become a medical problem. David Rapoport: If you have trouble sleeping most nights for three months this is now beyond the norm. And so if it is a good idea to seek medical health rather than self medicate the point is aid to respect sleep to have regularity in your sleep in general it's better to try and pick one time that works for you to go to bed and to get up and stick to that time. Female Speaker: And make it the rest of your life. Audra Lowe: Dr. Rapoport also recommends keeping a worry about - keep a piece of paper and a pen by your bed side write down all the things that you worrying about that moment put them aside and remember there are still can there in the morning after good nights sleep there are more ways to get a good night sleep with your family circle magazine on the February issue of latest home journal.