Catching Your Z’s

Oct. 5, 2012
Sleep is important for every last one of us – for our health, our mental well-being, and for our safety on the job.
There’s a certain sleep medication on the market that has been linked with causing some users to “sleepwalk” through activities including eating, driving or making bizarre, late-night phone calls. I know about that last one firsthand because I was on the receiving end of one of those phone calls. The person in question was just trying to catch her Z’s by taking a pill, but she ended up making embarrassing phone calls she wouldn’t remember the next day.

Fortunately, I don’t have a problem falling asleep. I might not get enough sleep, and sure, sometimes I lie awake with an overactive mind, or I might occasionally wake up too early when I still need the rest – but overall, I can fall asleep naturally and stay that way until my alarm clock jolts me awake. But not everyone’s so lucky.

I think it’s fair to say that many of us either aren’t sleeping enough or occasionally (or regularly) experience some sort of sleep difficulty. According to a recent report, 30 percent of Americans report sleeping 6 or few hours a day. This inadequate sleep even is connected with on-the-job safety risks.

The old cure to help move the sleeping process along was to drink a glass of warm milk. Nowadays, a quick online search for “natural sleep remedies” will yield millions of results. In “Depression During Recession Grows Market for Mood and Sleep Supplements,” the trade publication Functional Ingredients (part of NewHope 360) examines considers how depression, stress and “functional food” (which, I gather, is food that has been enhanced or includes an additional ingredient to serve a particular function, such as preventing disease) may play a role in our sleep problems.

“Stress and sleep problems form a constantly growing category. The term ‘adrenal stress disorder’ or ‘adrenal fatigue’ is being spoken about by many health care professionals as a problem of epidemic proportion,” David Konn, managing director for North America at Ilwha Co. Ltd., told Functional Ingredients. “Sleep problems are related to stress and there are many health care professionals who consider stress and the need for efficacious stress management to be the core factor in providing a path of wellness for their patients.”

While I may not need to personally test out any of these new approaches to sleep management (knock on wood), it seems clear from the article that the market for sleep aids is growing. Which tells me that there are a lot of people out there struggling, in one way or another, with how much or how well they sleep. And that’s a problem. Sleep is important for every last one of us – for our health, our mental well-being, and for our safety on the job.

Whether you try to catch more Z’s through meditating, improving your diet, staying away from the TV or computer before bedtime, trying a natural sleep solution, or even taking a sleep aid, I do hope this issue is on your mind and that you’re doing your best to get enough rest. Arrange your schedule so you have a solid 7-9 hours of sleeping time every night. Wind down in the late evening, clear your mind, and turn the lights down low. If natural remedies don’t work or you have a sleep disorder, see your doctor. Either way, do your best to hit the hay and make the time to catch your Z’s.

So what are you waiting for? Those sheep aren’t going to count themselves.

About the Author

Laura Walter Blog | Senior Editor

Laura Walter is senior editor of EHS Today, a Penton Media Inc. publication. She is a subject matter expert in EHS compliance and government issues and covers a variety of topics relating to occupational safety and health. Her writing has earned awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the Trade Association Business Publications International (TABPI) and APEX Awards for Publication Excellence.

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