When sleep leaves you tired

The Wall Street Journal's Health Journal offered an excellent article on the fundamental and serious issue of sleep (June 9, 2009).

"Twenty percent of Americans sleep less than six hours a night, and nearly one-third have lost sleep worrying about financial concerns, according to the National Sleep Foundation, which recommends that adults get seven to nine hours. "Our society thinks sleep is for slackers," says Darrel Drobnich, the organization's chief program officer.

"Millions of Americans aren't getting enough sleep, and even those that are may not be getting the most restful sleep possible.

"But all that lost sleep is taking an insidious toll. Chronic, inadequate sleep raises the risk of cardiovascular disease, depression, diabetes and obesity."

In early May 2009, I wrote an NCR story on the question of our physical health.

Sleep is critical to our physical health and wellness.

"It impairs cognitive function, memory and the immune system and causes more than 100,000 motor-vehicle accidents a year. Sleep deprivation also changes the body's metabolism, making people eat more and feel less satisfied.

"Studies presented at the American Association of Sleep Medicine's annual meeting in Seattle this week also found that inadequate sleep is associated with lower GPAs among college students and with elevated levels of visfatin, a hormone secreted by belly fat that is associated with insulin resistance.

"All in all, "there are plenty of ways you can improve your sleep," Jason Donahue, another Zeo founder, tells me cheerily. This week, I'm starting in on Zeo's tips on keeping disturbances in the bedroom to a minimum. The dog may have to find a new place to sleep."

We all must take the issue of quality sleep seriously. For more information on sleep, check out the National Sleep Foundation's Web site: www.sleepfoundation.org.

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