Open Accessibility Menu

If You Snooze, You...Win!

  • Category: General Health
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Matt Gougler
If You Snooze, You...Win!

It's a timeworn adage:

If you snooze, you lose.

If taken literally, this well-worn expression is just plain wrong. In fact, research has shown that inadequate sleep is dangerous from several perspectives, and it’s virtually a national epidemic.

According to the National Institutes of Health, up to 70-million Americans don’t get enough sleep. Insufficient sleep is associated with an increased risk for a variety of serious health problems, including depression, diabetes, heart attack, high blood pressure, and stroke. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving results in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and more than 100,000 accidents annually.

In light of these potentially deadly outcomes, ATRIO Health Plans is calling attention to National Sleep Awareness Week — which is March 5 through March 12 — and the importance of getting enough z’s every night.

Sleep by the Numbers

As a starting educational step, review the following sleep guidelines developed by the National Sleep Foundation:

  • newborns (up to 3 months), 14 to 17 hours;
  • infants (4 to 11 months), 12 to 15 hours;
  • toddlers (1 to 2 years), 11 to 14 hours;
  • preschoolers (3 to 5 years), 10 to 13 hours;
  • school-age children (6 to 13 years), 10 to 13 hours;
  • teens (14 to 17), 8 to 10 hours;
  • Adults (18 and older), 7 to 9 hours.

Getting There

To achieve sleep success, consider these snooze-facilitating suggestions:

  1. Assess your bedroom – Ensuring that one’s bedroom is conducive to sleep is step one. For example, if indoor or outdoor noise is an issue, wear earplugs. Light also should be minimized, so the shutting of your eyes should coincide with the shutting off of cell phones, computers, and TVs. Another assessment component is the positioning of your alarm clock. Watching the minutes tick by while trying to fall asleep — or if you awaken during the night — can be stressful, so place your alarm clock such that it’s not directly in your line of sight.
  1. Adhere to a routine – By sticking to a sleep schedule whereby you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day — even on weekends — you'll establish a natural sleep-wake cycle. Maintaining a sleep schedule further extends to following a nightly routine that signals to your body that it’s time to unwind. For example, in the 30 to 60 minutes before lights out, engage in a relaxing activity such as reading or taking a bath.
  1. Make healthy choices – What you put into your body — as well as the extent to which you exert your body — impacts your ability to sleep well. Toward that end, avoid consuming caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine before hitting the hay. Also, time your meals and snacks so that you're neither hungry nor stuffed when bedtime arrives. Timing additionally is key in relation to exercising. While exercising during the day promotes sleep at night, exercising too close to bedtime may leave you overly stimulated and unable to sleep. As a general rule, experts recommend working out at least a few hours before turning in.

Sleep Awareness Week culminates on March 12, which happens to coincide with the start of Daylight Saving Time — all the more reason to make getting a good night’s sleep a top priority.