If You Snooze, You Don’t Lose

Want to slash your health care costs, boost your brainpower and increase your financial smarts? Get some sleep.

Too little sleep can bring on costly health problems. A 2011 study by the University of California at San Diego and Harvard University concluded that men who most missed out on deep sleep were 83% more likely to develop high blood pressure. Other research indicated that being tired is correlated to consuming too many calories. And if you’ve got permanent under-eye circles you’re likely to be losing career opportunities too.

A recent study published in the journal Sleep found that people lose productivity equivalent to about 11 working days each year because of insomnia.

“Even if you show up at work after a night of insomnia, you might not do much of anything,” says study author Ronald Kessler, a professor of health care policy at Harvard.

Contemplating a big purchase or investing decision? Not only does lack of adequate sleep impair decision-making, but neuro-scientists at Duke University recently found that sleep deprivation changes the way your brain assesses economic value, making your more likely to take risks.

If you are having trouble settling down, use these strategies for resting easier.

If you have insomnia…

1) Create a sleep routine – switch off all gadets and electronics. Hop into a hot shower 30 minutes before bed, this will cause your body temperature to fall and your body releases the sleep inducing-hormone melatonin.

2) Ask about a prescription – if your insomnia is caused by a specific, temporary problem, a prescription sleeping aid can give your stressed-out mind a break.

3) Call your insurer and HR department – several large insurers offer free digital coaching on beating insomnia

4) Invest in exercise – join a gym, buy a bike, people who exercise 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigourous activity report better sleep and less fatigue BUT be sure to kick off the sneaks at least 4 hours before bed or you will be too wired to sleep.

If you wake up sleepy…

1) Check for sleep apnea – about 1 in 5 adults suffer from sleep apnea, or irregular breathing, which can limit rest. Ask your primary-care doctor to do an assessment or refer you to a specialist. Treatments for apnea are often covered by insurance.

2) Get a cozier sleep space – darkness produces the soundest sleep. Streetlights near your window? Buy black out shades or a sleeping mask. If noise is a problem, get the TMSoft’s Whie Noise app for your iPad or iPhone, just remember to put it in airplane more or DND.

If nothing is working…

1) Try cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – a form of therapy that seeks to train your mental habits, is one of the most effective methods of treating sleep ills. Most people see improvements after four to six sessions. To find a therapist, ask your doctor for a referal or visit the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s website (assmnet.org).

CBT may not be covered by insurance and can average about $200 a session, but a good night’s sleep is always a sound investment.

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