It's National Sleep Awareness Week

Are you getting enough sleep? Probably not.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, it is recommended that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep daily.  However, according to data from the National Interview Survey, nearly 30% of adults reported an average of less than 6 hours of sleep per day.

Getting enough sleep is not only important for your health; but, it can help prevent accident or injury to you and others. The National Department of Transportation estimates drowsy driving to be responsible for 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries annually in the United States.

Additionally, according to Dr. Lawrence J. Epstein, "People who have problems with sleep are at increased risk for developing emotional disorders, depression, and anxiety." Sleep and mood are closely connected; but, you probably already know first-hand how much sleep can affect your mood.

Here are some tips from the Sleep Foundation on how to improve your sleep:
-Exercise regularly. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.
-Create an environment that is conducive to sleep that is quiet, dark, and cool with a comfortable mattress and pillows.
-Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual, like a warm bath or listening to calming music.
-Go to sleep and wake at the same time every day, and avoid spending more time in bed than needed.
-Use bright light to help manage your "body clock". Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning.
-Use your bedroom only for sleep to strengthen the association between your bed and sleep. It may help to remove work materials, computers, and televisions from your bedroom.
-Save your worries for the daytime. If concerns come to mind, write them in a "worry book" so you can address those issues the next day.
-If you can't sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired.
-If you are experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness, snoring, or "stop breathing" episodes in your sleep, contact your health care professional for a sleep apnea screening.

The use of good sleep hygiene like the tips listed above can improve your quality of sleep, help keep people safe, and have a significant effect on your mood. Happy ZZZsss!

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