And let's not even talk about the misery of tearing yourself out of bed and making your bleary eyed way to work after a restless night.
We all know that a good night's rest is essential. But, are you getting yours? Take our sleep awareness quiz to find out, then read on for tips that can help you get your quota of sleep tonight – and every night!
1. Fill in the blank: I usually get ___ hours of sleep
a. 4 hours or less
b. 5 to 7 hours
c. Just over 7 hours to 9 hours
d. Over 9 hours
2. I take an afternoon nap if I feel like I need one. (Variation for new parents: I nap when my baby does.)
3. I won't drink caffeinated beverages after:
a. My afternoon coffee break
c. The evening news
d. I’ll drink caffeinated beverages right up until bedtime
4. I exercise:
a. A minimum of 45-minutes, three to five times per week
b. In non-traditional ways. I may be too busy to get to the gym, but I walk the dog, take the stairs at work, garden, and go bike riding with my kids and so on everyday.
c. When I can find the time.
d. Never! When you're as exhausted as I am, there's no way you can work out.
5. I find it hard to sleep because my spouse snores.
6. I go to bed the same time each night.
7. Next to my bed, you'll find (note all that apply):
• Work files
• Scrap booking or other craft projects I'm working on
• Food plates
• Video game console
• Workout equipment
• Kids' toys
• Baskets of clean laundry needing folding
• Books other than pleasure reading
• Cigarettes and ashtray
Page 1 of 3 -- Find out if you're getting the right kind of sleep on page 2
Now it's time to grab a pencil and add up your points!
1. Adults need an average of eight hours of sleep per night, though individual needs vary. Some adults are perfectly fine with as little as six hours a night, while a minority may need as many as 10 hours a night.
a = 4 hours or less (4 points)
b = 5 to 7 hours (2 points)
c = Just over 7 hours to 9 hours (0 points)
d = Over 9 hours (1 point)
2. Naps are great if you had a bad night's sleep. Find some time to take a nap in the early evening and on the weekends.
New parents should forget the laundry and grab some winks while their baby naps. As little as 20 minutes will refresh you.
One novel idea that some Japanese researchers recommend for an afternoon power nap: drink a cup of coffee, then snooze. The caffeine takes about 20 to 30 minutes to kick in – just as your alarm goes off.
a = True (0 points)
b = False (2 points)
3. Although some people can down an after-dinner cappuccino without it affecting their sleep, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine generally recommends you avoid caffeinated beverages from late afternoon on.
a = My afternoon coffee break (0 points)
b = Dinner (1 point)
c = The evening news (2 points)
d = I'll drink caffeinated beverages right up until bedtime (3 points)
4. Regular exercise promotes better sleep, by reducing stress and tiring you out. Further, maintaining a healthy body weight reduces your chances of obesity-related sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
Although some people find an evening workout relaxing, others may find it revs them up too much for bed. Schedule your workouts as you see fit, but if you're new to exercise, consult a doctor before starting a routine, and for best results, schedule vigorous workouts for earlier in the day, limiting evenings to relaxing activities like yoga.
a = A minimum of 45-minutes, three to five times per week (0 points)
b = In non-traditional ways. I may be too busy to get to the gym, but I walk the dog, take the stairs at work, garden, and go bike riding with my kids and so on everyday. (1 point)
c = When I can find the time. (2 points)
d = Never! When you're as exhausted as I am, there's no way you can work out. (3 points)
Page 2 of 3 -- Check out your final score on page 3
5. If your spouse's snoring is keeping you up, a visit to your family doctor is in order. Your spouse may suffer from sleep apnea (a condition in which the snorer actually stops breathing in bouts throughout the night). Treatment will result in better sleep and better health for you both.
a = True (3 points)
b = False (0 points)
6. Experts say following a set bedtime (weekends included) is a key pillar of good "sleep hygiene." Other good sleep-hygiene practices include avoiding large meals close to bedtime, avoiding thinking about stressful things before bedtime, and sleeping on a comfortable bed.
a = True (0 points)
b = False (2 points)
7. From a sleep hygiene perspective, all the items on our list are verboten. Your bed should be for sleep and sex only, says the National Sleep Foundation.
Add two points for any of the items you ticked off, EXCEPT a book of pleasurable reading (not study, or work-related subject matter). Score 1 point for pleasure reading, as opinion is divided on whether or not those are okay in bed.
If you scored 15 or less: Chances are you're sleeping well. Keep doing what you're doing!
If you scored 15 to 25: Sleeping habits vary and often, habits which may seem "off," are perfectly acceptable for you if they suit your lifestyle.
Not sure if you have a sleep issue? Ask yourself these questions: Am I frequently exhausted or sleepy during the workday? Do I have trouble falling asleep? Do I wake up exhausted?
If you answered "yes," reassess your habits and visit SleepEducation.com for tips and advice.
If you scored 25 and over: Sounds like you could use more sleep! Make an appointment to see your family doctor so you can collaborate on a program to help you get a great night's sleep. Sleep deprivation isn't a minor hassle – it can have a serious effect on your health. You deserve a good night's sleep, so please don't put it off.
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