Reduce Risk: Take a Nap!

Mar 12th, 2009 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

For those who live in the 48 states affected by Daylight Savings Time, the recent counsel for coping seems to be “Reduce Risk, Take a Nap.” The risk of heart attacks seems to be greater during those periods when sleep habits are affected by “leaping forward” or “falling back.”

Cultural changes have influenced and reduced the average night’s sleep, by as much as an hour and a half. Surely, the interruption of habits in when one goes to bed and gets up has something to do with that. Staying up later to catch a favorite television series or late night news or comedy show affects our hours of rest. Wakefulness, even if sedentary, is not a substitute for a good night’s rest, which is still recommended to be a full 8 hours.

Adolescents who sleep in, principally because they have stayed up so late, are doing what their body demands, getting the sleep they refused it the night before. Adults who rotate work shifts are in a perpetual hamster cage trying to adjust weekly to changes in schedule. Persons with various struggles with insomnia find themselves experimenting with all kinds of sleep aids, often without medical advice.

Like many dietary and exercise issues, the importance of sleep requires careful attention to taking care of yourself. Trying to make up a night’s sleep, or more, is like trying to recover what has been lost in the stock market. Anxiety, worry, distraction are all impediments to sleep. Establishing routines and patterns for restful sleep depends upon the individual and household. Examining those habits which may detract from adequate restfulness and sleep is a very good idea.

But, the best practical solution to all of this seems to be “Reduce Risk, Take a Nap!”

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