NORWALK, Conn., March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Sleep is as essential to our well- being as food and water, yet more than 25 percent of Americans do not get enough sleep, according to the U.S. Department of Health.
"Sleep keeps many essential body functions in order," said Peggy Fleming, Olympic figure skating champion and HealthSaver spokesperson. "Without proper sleep, the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression may increase."
Sleep allows your body and mind to receive the rest each requires. "One
study found that sufficient sleep may even help fight cancer," said Brad
Eggleston, vice president of HealthSaver. Read on to learn more about how
you can get the most out of your night's sleep.
-- A lack of sleep can lead to serious health problems, not just daytime
drowsiness. The American Heart Association reports that adults who
sleep five hours or less each night nearly double their risk of high
-- Insufficient sleep also disrupts mood. A study by the National
Institute of Mental Health found that sleep deprivation causes the
emotional centers of the brain to be 60 percent more reactive.
Without enough sleep, you may also become irritable, in part because
sleep deficit puts the body in a state of high alert.
-- Naps can be a great way to rejuvenate. But don't nap for more than 30
minutes, or you may disrupt your sleep-wake cycle.
Why We Sleep
-- Studies show that insufficient sleep decreases the body's ability to
manage blood sugar, increasing the risk of diabetes. Adults who sleep
less than seven hours each night are also more likely to be obese,
because of changes in appetite and the storage of carbohydrates.
-- Without sleep, bodies lose the opportunity to conduct many vital
functions that maintain health. For example, during sleep our bodies
produce hormones that help fight infection and repair cells and tissue.
-- The nervous system and immune system will not function properly without
sleep. Neurons also use this time to shut down and adjust back to
-- Even our memory is affected by sleep. The part of the brain that
maintains memory is in fact very active during non-waking hours.
-- In order to keep your sleep-wake cycle in order, it is best to go to
bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends. If you
lose sleep during the weekends, you develop a "sleep debt" that
eventually will need to be repaid.
-- To alert your body that it's time to go to bed, follow a consistent
nighttime routine. Prepare your body for sleep with such relaxing
activities as reading or listening to soothing music.
-- Not everyone requires seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Some
people require only five, others 10. To find out how much sleep your
body needs, assess how you feel after different amounts of sleep. Pay
attention to your energy level, productivity and general well-being.
-- Lifestyle factors play a major role in sleep quality. Among them is
regular exercise, which helps provide deeper sleep. Exercise will also
help you fall asleep quicker, leaving you rested and ready for your
-- Mental health and sleep have a great effect on one another. An
estimated 65 percent of Americans lose sleep because of stress.
Depression, in turn, can also lead to insomnia.
-- A proper sleeping environment is a quiet, dark room free of
interruption. Abnormally high or low temperatures will reduce your
ability to regulate body temperature, which can lead to an increase in
What to Avoid Before Bedtime
-- Leave your cup of coffee for the morning, not the late afternoon.
Caffeine should be avoided at least eight hours before you go to bed,
because it makes it more difficult for people to both fall and stay
-- Nicotine is also a stimulant. It is not only a bad habit, but also
leads to difficulty falling asleep and waking up.
-- Though often viewed as a sedative, alcohol actually makes it more
difficult for people to enter the deep sleep that their body requires.
When to See a Doctor
-- If you encounter sleep problems three nights a week for more than a
month, and have already eliminated stimulants and regulated sleeping
patterns, see a physician for treatment.
-- Waking multiple times throughout the night may be a sign of a sleep
disorder. Common disorders include sleep apnea, which interrupts
breathing, and narcolepsy, which causes fatigue regardless of how much
-- Because of side effects such as memory impairment, over-the-counter
sleep medications should be taken with caution. Examine your daily
sleep routine before taking such antihistamines.
We spend approximately one-third our lives in bed. Optimize your health by treating sleep as a priority. A proper night's sleep is often the best kind of medicine. Rest well and your body will thank you for it!
HealthSaver, an emerging health care discount program, offers savings on prescriptions, vision care, complementary and alternative health care treatments, vitamins and supplements by mail and more than 1,500 fitness clubs nationwide, including select Bally Total Fitness, World Gym and Ladies Workout Express locations.
HealthSaver offers discounts of 20 percent on vision care, as well as discounts of 10 to 50 percent on prescriptions at participating pharmacies, 20 percent off complementary and alternative health care treatments and fitness club benefits. HealthSaver also offers discounts of 10 to 35 percent on dental care services at some 42,000 participating provider locations nationwide, including routine cleanings, X-rays, fillings, orthodontics, and even popular cosmetic dentistry procedures such as teeth whitening. Members can also save from 5 to 50 percent off vitamins and supplements by mail. Discounts are based upon reasonable and customary costs or manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP) and are only available from participating providers. HealthSaver is not an insurance product or service. More information about HealthSaver is available online at http://www.healthsaver.com or toll free by calling 1-800-7HEALTH (1-800-743-2584). A one month trial membership in HealthSaver (http://www.healthsaver.com or 1-800-743-2584) costs $1 and can be canceled anytime during the trial period. Unless the member calls to cancel during the trial, membership will be extended automatically and billed to a credit card number at the $149.99 annual fee. Members may call toll free to cancel at any time and receive a refund of the unused portion of their current year's fee. HealthSaver is offered by Affinion Group, a leader in the membership, insurance and loyalty marketing businesses, providing products and services that touch the lives of millions of Americans.
About Affinion Group, Inc.
As a global leader with nearly 35 years of experience, Affinion Group
(http://www.affinion.com) enhances the value of its partners' customer
relationships by developing and marketing valuable loyalty, membership,
checking account, insurance and other compelling products and services.
Leveraging its expertise in product development and targeted marketing,
Affinion helps generate significant incremental revenue for more than 5,300
affinity partners worldwide, including many of the largest and most
respected companies in financial services, retail, travel, and Internet
commerce. Based in Norwalk, Conn., the company has approximately 3,300
employees throughout the United States and in 10 countries across Europe.
Affinion holds the prestigious ISO 27001 certification for the highest
information security practices, is PCI compliant and Cybertrust certified.
Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link. Peggy Fleming http://profnet.prnewswire.com/Subscriber/ExpertProfile.aspx?ei=57424
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved