(NaturalNews) We have bottles of melatonin and valerian root stashed in the medicine cabinet. There`s a white noise machine next to the bed. We repeat relaxing mantras in our head as we lay in bed, trying desperately to catch some sleep before another busy day dawns. But are we addressing the root issues of our sleep disturbances? If you use electronics or communication technology before bed, research says you may have missed the real culprit.
The latest poll about the sleep habits of average Americans reveals startling evidence about the prevalence of sleep problems in our culture:
- More than 40 percent of Americans say they very rarely ever get a decent night of sleep during the work week.
- The percentage of Americans who use electronics within an hour before bed is strikingly high: 95 percent. This includes the television, video game, computer or cell phone.
These statistics are not exclusive of each other. The fact is that checking your email, making a quick business call, or watching the news just before bed stimulates brain activity that prevents your brain from winding down to a state where it can easily relax in to a deep sleep.
Not only that, but the unnatural light coming from television screens and computer monitors prevents the brain from making the neurotransmitters that encourage healthy sleep.
We live in a fast-paced world where we feel like we`ll get left behind if we`re not taking advantage of what technology has to offer. But turning off technology at least one hour before bed may be the only real way to stay on top. Let`s face it: a sleep deprived individual cannot function as well as someone who is well rested. To really have the upper hand, you`re going to need a good night`s sleep to back you up with energy and focus.
So the rule of thumb is: no electronics for an hour before bed. Turn off the computer, keep the lights low, and read a good book or write in a journal. Both of these tasks are well known for their ability to induce sleepiness.
And remember that lack of sleep is not just unhealthy: it`s downright dangerous. When 40 percent of Americans are severely deprived of sleep, that equals millions of drowsy drivers hurdling down our highways. Are you one of them?
For more tips about getting better sleep, read the article below:
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welcome.html
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