Upstate News

March 18, 2010
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

World Sleep Day raises awareness of need for more restorative sleep to stay healthy

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A good night’s sleep has long been the intention of millions of people suffering from sleep disorders around the world. However, this objective is scarcely met with ease. The reality of this scenario is that many will not seek the professional help to address the serious sleep disorders that plague them, resulting in numerous health consequences.

Upstate Medical University Professor Antonio Culebras, co-chair of World Sleep Day, Friday, March 19, says restorative sleep is essential for better mental and physical health.

Culebras is celebrating World Sleep Day, sponsored by the World Association of Sleep Medicine by delivering a message of the importance of healthy sleep to the public.

Sleep is a function in which all vertebrates and some invertebrates participate, however the physiological purpose of sleep has yet to be discovered. While sleep is necessary to be alert to optimally navigate daily tasks, research shows sleep may also be a factor in growth, regeneration, and memory. With an estimated one-third of adults suffering from clinically recognizable insomnia and approximately 80 additional sleep-related disorders, there is significant concern for the health consequences that occur with the lack of quality sleep. Studies suggest that a lack of sleep is detrimental to health in ways such as the development of high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and other chronic ailments in those who consume less than six hours nightly.

The 10 Commandments of Sleep Hygiene offer common sense recommendations that are rarely followed.

Ten Commandments of Sleep Hygiene

1. Fix a bedtime and an awakening time.

2. If you are in the habit of taking siestas do not exceed 45 minutes of daytime sleep.

3. Avoid excessive alcohol ingestion four hours before bedtime and do not smoke.

4. Avoid caffeine six hours before bedtime. This includes coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate.

5. Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods four hours before bedtime. A light snack before bed is acceptable.

6. Exercise regularly, but not right before bed.

7. Use comfortable bedding.

8. Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping and keep the room well ventilated.

9. Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible.

10. Don’t use the bed as an office, workroom or recreation room.

Violation of these commandments causes poor quality of nocturnal sleep, short duration of sleep, fragmentation of sleep and serious sleep deprivation. These infringements may lead to poor alertness, lack of attention, reduced concentration, decreased work and academic productivity, and even motor vehicle accidents. Physical health problems come next.

For more information visit which offers translations in various languages.

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