How to Combat Economic Fatigue
It appears that with the economy ailing as it is, our sleep patterns seem to be suffering as well, and by extension, many other aspects of our lives. According to a recent poll by the National Sleep Foundation, or NSF, almost one third of the country is having trouble getting enough shut-eye, and lot of it is because of their concerns over jobs and finances.
Unfortunately, lack of sleep can compound the problem of an ailing economy, resulting in declines in efficiency and productivity, not to mention compromising public health and safety by affecting how well we drive. In fact, over half the people surveyed admit to having driven their cars while drowsy, and nearly one third of them admitted to nodding off or falling asleep at the wheel.
Furthermore, it has been well documented, even here at Wisebread, that sleep deprivation has negative consequence on our health, increasing our susceptibility to such maladies as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and even cancer. People who operate with a sleep deficit also tend to engage more frequently in poor health practices like smoking, drinking, and overeating.
What this all boils down to is simple: sleep matters. So much so that it has become a billion dollar industry. Last year, over 56 million prescriptions alone were dispensed for sleep medication (a 7% increase from 2007), and that’s not including the stuff you can get over the counter. There are an incredible number of products out there designed to help you transport yourself to la-la-land, from aromatherapy to designer pillows, to special high tech mattresses.
Then again, one can’t help but wonder, is the solution to spend more money, which may have fueled your sleep issues in the first place? Perhaps not, so it’s instructive to keep in mind that finding an answer does not have to cost you a lot of money, and could be as simple as making a few basic lifestyle changes.
• Reduce your caffeine intake, and especially try to avoid it before bedtime. I know, it’s a no-brainer, but keep in mind that caffeine can be hiding out in unlikely places, like chocolate and soft drinks, and even medication, so be aware.
• Get some light exercise. This is good advice no matter what, and it doesn’t have to be excessive. Just a short walk to get the blood flowing, especially after a big meal, is all it takes. On the flip side, don’t exert yourself too rigorously, as this will get your heart pumping and spike up your energy level, and you might need to give yourself a few hours to cool down.
• Have more sex. A win-win situation if there ever was one, especially since the two go together so well. And as an extra treat, take a warm bath or shower afterward.
• Improve your diet. Reduce your intake of rich and heavy foods late in the evening, and avoid eating supper too close to bedtime. If you can, eat a light, healthy supper, giving yourself several hours to digest it, and focus your big meal closer to lunchtime.
• Do not watch too much TV or use your computer close to bedtime. Besides frying your brain, if you’re continuously tuned into current affairs via the news or the web, a lot of which might pertain to the economy, it’s not going to help your frame of mind.
• Avoid tobacco and alcohol. While they may seem like sleep aids, the truth is, they have a stimulant effect, and will also make deep and relaxing sleep difficult, not to mention give you a hangover.
For more information and advice, consult your physician or check out the website of the NSF, and take the time to make sleep a priority. Your health, and for that matter, your life, could depend on it.
Besides, when you’re well rested, it goes without saying that your body will thank you, as will your friends and acquaintances. Even though the current economic climate is a source of stress and anxiety, just remember that things have a way of working out, and they are usually not as bad as we make them out to be.
And it’s definitely not worth losing sleep over.