Why a good night’s sleep is more important than you think!

Sleep plays a valuable role in good health and well-being throughout your life. During sleep, your body is working to conserve healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times supports your mental and physical health, quality of life, and safety.  The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant (such as an accident caused by your inability to focus), or it can harm you over time. Ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems as well as affect how well you are able to pay attention, react, work, and get along with others.

Here are just a few ways sleep affects you:

  • Proper sleep helps enhance your learning and problem-solving skills.
    While sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day by building new ways to help you learn and remember information. A good night’s sleep improves learning. Whether you’re learning a new job, a new skill, or working on a new project, sleep helps enhance your learning and problem-solving skills.
  • With proper rest you are more able to pay attention, make decisions, and be creative.
    Not only does lack of proper sleep effect your learning and creativity, but it also harms your ability to make wise decisions and pay attention which is damaging for day to day activities such as driving.
    Lack of sleep also may lead to short term memory lapses called “microsleep”. Microsleep refers to brief moments of sleep that occur when you’re normally awake. For example, when you enter a room and forget why.  Many link this type of incident to aging but it is actually due to lack of proper sleep which happens to become more common as you get older. Microsleep can disrupt your work by causing you to forget important tasks among other issues. Also, this type of lapse inconfusionchaos.jpg awareness is shown to be a cause of many vehicle accidents.
  • Sleep deprivation has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior.
    Without restful sleep, people may feel angry and impulsive, have mood swings, feel sad or depressed, or lack motivation. Snap decisions are often made when we lack rest which result in negative outcomes from accidents to being convinced we are too miserable to continue fighting through the day.
  • Sleep depravation is extremely harmful to your body’s health as well as your mind’s.
    Sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and obesity to name a few issues.Sleep helps you maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry or full. When you don’t get enough sleep, your hormone levels fluctuate which can make you feel hungrier than when you’re well-rested.
    Sleep also affects how your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood glucose level. Sleep deficiency results in a higher than normal blood sugar level, which may increase your risk for diabetes.
    Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy.  Ongoing sleep deficiency can change the way in which your immune system responds. For example, if you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble fighting common infections, colds or allergies.
  • Recurring or intense headaches are usually caused by lack of rest. 
    In a large study of migraine sufferers, half said sleep disturbances contributed to their headaches. And those who slept only six hours a night on average had more frequent and more severe headaches than those who slept longer.

Getting enough quality sleep helps you function well throughout your day.  Everyone’s insomnia-man-400x266.jpgindividual sleep needs vary. In general, most healthy adults are built for 16 hours of wakefulness and need an average of eight hours of sleep a night.

 

Some people aren’t aware of the risks of sleep deficiency. In fact, they may not even realize that they’re sleep deficient. Even with limited or poor-quality sleep, they may still think that they can function well.

What are some things that cause us to lose valuable sleep time?

  • Stress
    Common triggers include work related pressures, family problems, illnesses or dealing with a difficult situation in your personal life.  Usually the sleep problem disappears when the stressful situation passes. However, if short-term sleep problems such as insomnia aren’t managed properly from the beginning, they can persist long after the original stress has passed.
  • Food and Drink before bedtime
    Drinking alcoholic, sugary or caffeinated beverages after 6pm can effect your sleep as well as eating a heavy meal, sugary or spicy snacks after 6pm.
  • Too much activity within 2 hours of your bedtime can prevent your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. 
    For example, exercising in the evening or working on a project into the night will make you subconsciously prepare to stay more active for a longer period and leave you tossing and turning while you’re trying to sleep.  Your thoughts may or may not be directly related to the activity you were doing as you toss and turn, but are still a direct result of your previous activity.
  • Nicotine
    The intake of nicotine through tobacco smoking and smokeless tobacco within 2 hours before your bedtime will inhibit your ability to have restful sleep.
  • Interruptions and disruptions
    Environmental factors can play a huge role in some people’s ability to sleep.  Some people are considered “light sleepers” who are effected by even dim lighting or the sound of a breeze outside keeping them awake.  If the person next to you snores or the bed is not comfortable, this type of disruption creates difficulties sleeping as well. Or, obviously, when we are jarred awake by a loud noise or similar, this can rob many of hours of sleep while trying to recover and calm ourselves from the sudden event.

 

Sleep deficiency is not only harmful on a personal level, but it also can cause large-scale damage. Studies have shown sleep deficiency has played a role in human errors linked to tragic accidents.  While some of the items described above cannot be avoided, it is highly recommended you find a way to obtain proper sleep customized for your lifestyle as well as the basics.  So, to reiterate a few items discussed above and also add some new;
Here are some useful tips to help you get a better night’s rest:

  • If you are stressed, practice yoga, mediation or other relaxation methods that you are comfortable with before going to bed
  • Avoid eating, smoking or extreme activities after 6pm if at all possible. And avoid drinking anything other than water in this time frame as well.
  • If you are light and/or sound sensitive, use a sleep mask and/or ear plugs to help mask environmental disruptors from ruining your sleep.
  • Daily exercise is excellent for your well being for many reasons including enabling you to get better rest at night.  Just be sure your exercise is done earlier in the day to avoid restlessness later in the evening.
  • Maintaining a regular bed time is extremely helpful in maintaining proper rest.  Studies have shown that the average person needs 8 hours of sleep, so calculate your bed time around that period.

SB.jpgIn closing, sleep deprivation can be a miserable and harmful experience for you and those in your circle.  While it’s not necessarily easy to manage, we hope you have found some helpful information in this blog to manage your sleep habits and get more rest. If you found this blog useful, be sure to follow us for safety tips and more helpful information and share our blog with your friends.  If you have a health or safety topic you’d like to see covered in our blog, let us know!

Sweet Dreams,
Close Range Safety Training Academy

 

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Today is National Grandparents Day! Show them you care by keeping them safe and loved!

Happy-Grandparents-Day-Photo.jpgA recent study conducted for the National Institute of Aging found that about 22 percent of elderly Americans age 71 and older face challenges of declining mental or physical health. This could mean elders are going through subtle changes that make them vulnerable to scams or more susceptible to accidents. Safety both in and out of home is a top priority for our grandparents and there are many simple safety steps that will reduce the risk of accidents and dangers.

GENERAL HOME SAFETY

The following home safety tips can help keep you and your loved ones safe:

  • Consider a medical alert system for your loved one(top 10 Systems described and ranked: here).
  • Place a light weight fire extinguisher and smoke detectors on every floor of their home and be sure to check these items regularly.  Fire Extinguishers expire over time and be sure to regularly test smoke detectors (to learn more about fire safety products click: here).
  • Teach elderly loved ones to always get up slowly after sitting or lying down. Many of us can be taken off balance when we rise too fast.  A change of behavior can prevent dizziness or falling by taking our time, and making sure to have your balance. Work with your loved ones to improve this action.
  • If your grandparent is using a cane, walker or aid to walk be sure it has been medically approved by his/her physician.
  • Remove or tack down all scatter rugs in his/her household as they are trip hazards.
  • Remove electrical or telephone cords from traffic areas.
  • Avoid using slippery wax on floors.
  • Wipe up spills promptly.
  • Let your loved ones know to avoid standing on ladders or chairs and to call on you or an assistant if they need help reaching something.
  • Install sturdy rails for all stairs inside and outside the house, or, if necessary, purchase a stairlift.
  • Install proper lighting throughout the household that illuminates without glare and make sure that pathways are equipped with timed night lights that will aid them in maneuvering after dark to the kitchen or bathroom.
  • Make sure that all stair cases have good lighting with switches at top and bottom.
  • Make sure that staircase steps should have a non-slip surface.

BATHROOM SAFETY

  • Be sure to leave a light on in his/her bathroom at night or a motion sensitive light that will turn on when they enter the bathroom.
  • Use recommended bath aids, securely installed on the walls of the bath/shower stall and on the sides of the toilet.
  • Skid-proof the tub and make sure the bath mat has a non-slip bottom.
  • To avoid scalds, turn water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
  • Mark cold and hot faucets clearly.
  • Use door locks that can be opened from both sides.
  • If possible, bathe only when help is available.

KITCHEN SAFETY

  • Keep floors clean and uncluttered.
  • Illuminate work areas.
  • Mark “on” and “off” positions on appliances clearly and with bright colors.
  • Store sharp knives in a rack.
  • Use a kettle with an automatic shut-off.
  • Store heavier objects at waist level.
  • Store hazardous items separate from food.
  • Make sure food is rotated regularly and check expiration dates.

DRUG SAFETY

  • Review your loved one’s medicines frequently with his/her doctor or pharmacist to be sure they are being taken properly, still needed or if any changes need to be made.
  • Make sure medicines are clearly labeled by name, use, and instructions.
  • Dispose of any old or used medicines.
  • Have medication dispensed in a bubble pack or convenient dispenser for easy access.
  • Check with his/her doctor or pharmacist before mixing non-prescription drugs and prescription drugs.

PERSONAL SAFETY

  • Teach your grandparents to never provide any personal information to callers and, instead, retrieve a name and call back number to provide to you so that you can verify if unusual calls are valid or scams.
  • Make sure your loved ones are aware of the dangers of the internet and the important steps necessary to avoid scams (to learn more about internet safety and dangerous scams click: here).
  • Be sure your grandmother knows to never leave her purse unattended in her car, home or when in public as well as to never carry any cash, credit cards, social security card or valuables in a purse that could be easily snatched. She should know that if anyone is trying to attack her and grab her purse to just drop it and let them have it.
  • For the safety of your loved ones as well as yourself, it is always best to carry your wallet or any cash in a front pocket, never in a rear pocket.
  • Because the elderly are easy targets for home break ins/theft – they should avoid having large amounts of cash or valuables at home.
  • For the safety of both yourself and your loved ones, be sure to tear up or shred all personal and financial information; never just throw it into the trash.
  • Make arrangements to have Social Security checks direct-deposited to your loved one’s bank account.

These safety tips are valuable at any age, but particularly valuable for our susceptible loved ones who are elderly.  Show them you love them by taking the time to teach them about the dangers of internet use, running errands alone in public places and items in their household which have the potential to cause harm.

And, most importantly, don’t forget to celebrate them today and every day.  Tomorrow is promised to no one so enjoy their wisdom and give them thanks for your life and their love TODAY!

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