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April 11, 2013

FITNESS SOURCE: Exercise, proper diet key to falling asleep at night

> SOUTHERN INDIANA —  

It’s common knowledge that adequate amounts of sleep lead to good health and maximum performance at work and play.

But, many of us fail to get the recommended eight hours and, too often, we are left feeling drained before the end of the workday, much less before the end of an evening workout.

Skimping on the Zs can not only affect your performance in and out of the office, it can open the door to heart disease, cancers and other physiological ailments, says Judith Myers, Ph.D, registered nurse and associate professor at Indiana University Southeast School of Nursing.

Myers said the average adult should get between seven to hours of sleep a night. She added that senior citizens should log the same about of sleep, despite decreasing activity levels.

Myers said it is not required to get in eight hours each and every night, however.

She said if you deprive yourself of the recommended hours throughout the week, you create “sleep debt,” but if you pay that debt by catching up on sleep during the weekend, you receive the same benefits as someone who gets in seven to eight hours each night.

She said teenagers are notorious for creating sleep debt and catching up with late Saturday and Sunday mornings in bed.

Problems occur only when you don’t pay back that debt, she said.

“Eventually, you have to catch up, or your health can be affected,” Myers said.

For many working adults and busy parents, sleeping late on weekends isn’t an option, so getting proper amounts of sleep throughout the week is crucial.

Myers said inadequate amounts of sleep can impair the functionality of a person’s immune and hormonal systems.

She said sleep depravation can also lead to a host cognitive issues, including impaired judgment and memory.

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