Zzzz's Get Degrees

Nationwide, an estimated 50 to 70 million people suffer from chronic sleep loss and sleep disorders. Sleep loss is associated with health problems, including obesity, depression, and certain risk behaviors, including cigarette smoking, physical inactivity, and heavy drinking. Lack of sleep can make you groggy and affect your balance and coordination, making you more prone to injury due to an accident. Chronic sleep loss and sleep disorders are estimated to cost the nation as much as $16 billion in healthcare expenses and $50 billion in lost productivity. 

Sleep is as important to health as eating right and getting enough physical activity. Today many people do not appreciate the value of sleep, it is important to learn the benefits of sleep and how we can improve our sleep to live a healthier, happier and longer life

What goes on when you sleep?

·      Brain: Cerebral fluid is pumped more quickly throughout the brain while you sleep. It acts like a dishwasher, whisking away waste products that brain cells make. So you wake up with, quite literally, a clean slate   

·      Heart: One body part that gets a break during sleep is your heart. Your ticker works hard during the day, so at night during non-REM sleep it takes some pressure off itself by reducing heart rate, as well a blood pressure.

·      Lungs: When you’re awake, your breathing patters vary greatly. You’ll breathe faster when excited and harder while exercising, for example. But during sleep your breathing slows down and becomes very regular.

·      Muscles: While you sleep, your body releases growth hormones that work to rebuild muscles and joints. The more sleep you get, the better equipped your body

·      Stomach: Certain foods contain an amino acid called tryptophan that causes sleepiness. Carbohydrate-heavy meals can make you drowsy

How much sleep should you get?

Sleep guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute below have noted that sleep changes as we age, although there is no 'magic number' as individual sleep needs vary.


Recommended Amount of Sleep


16–18 hours a day

Preschool-aged children

11–12 hours a day

School-aged children

At least 10 hours a day


9–10 hours a day

Adults (including the elderly)

7–8 hours a day


How to sleep better!

ü  Treat getting enough sleep as important as taking a medicine.

ü  Exercise! People who work out regularly sleep better and longer, than those who don’t.

ü  Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends.

ü  Put away the smart phone and tablets and practice a relaxing activity right before bedtime.

ü  If you have problems sleeping avoid naps, especially in the afternoon.

ü  Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep.

ü  Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening.

ü   Cut out the coffee after early afternoon so that you can start to wind down in time for bedtime.

ü  If you do wake up during the night, avoid looking at the clock.

(Sleep Hygiene Tips adapted from the National Sleep Foundation , talkaboutsleep.com and sleep.org)



*The Epworth Sleepiness Scale is widely used in the field of sleep medicine as a subjective measure of a patient's sleepiness.

Click here to download the form and test your sleepiness!

à The Epworth Sleepiness Scale

For More Information

Healthy Sleep 

Sleep By NSF