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Getting enough sleep?

To maintain good health, getting enough sleep is important for people of all ages.

People often cut back on their sleep for work, for family demands, or even to watch a good show on TV. If not getting enough sleep is a regular part of your routine, you may be at an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and stroke, poor mental health and even early death.

Even one night of short sleep can affect you the next day. Not surprisingly, you're more likely to feel sleepy. On top of that, you're more likely to be in a bad mood, be less productive at work, and be involved in a motor vehicle crash.

How much sleep you need changes with age. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend the following number of hours of sleep (for infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers, this includes nap times):

• 12-16 hours — infants

• 11-14 hours — toddlers

• 10-13 hours — pre-school children

• 9-12 hours — school-age children

• 8-10 hours — teenagers

• 7 or more — adults

The academy notes that 35 percent of adults do not get enough sleep, and neither do six of 10 middle schoolers and seven of 10 high school students.

These habits can improve your sleep:

• Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends.

• Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.

• Remove TVs, computers, and smart phones from your bedroom.

• Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.

• Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.

Getting enough sleep is important, but good sleep quality is also essential.

Signs of poor sleep quality include feeling sleepy or tired even after getting the recommended hours of sleep, repeatedly waking up during the night, and having symptoms of sleep disorders (such as snoring or gasping for air). If you are having any of these signs, you may have a sleep disorder, so make sure to let your doctor know.

Getting enough sleep is not a luxury — it is something everyone needs for good health. Sleep disorders can be diagnosed and treated, bringing relief to those who suffer from them.

Visit www.cdc.gov/sleep for more information about sleep or call Horizon Public Health at 320-208-6670.

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