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Why A Good Night’s Sleep is Good For Your Wallet

Are you getting enough zzzs?
PEORIA - It's easy to tell some to get a good nights rest, but reports show that about one third of Americans are sleep deprived.
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control, sleep deprivation plays a part in car crashes, industrial disasters, chronic diseases, plus it can lead to sleep disorders like insomnia. But what might mean more to some individuals than their health could be the impact sleep has on their bank account.

Ralph Campbell walks into OSF St. Francis Medical Center just before bedtime on a cold November night and admits, "I look back on it, and I didn't think I was tired but yeah, I was tired a lot."

His pre-sleep routine probably isn't the norm as he fills out forms and has a staff member hook up wires and sensors all over his body. That's because he's starting his sleep evaluation.

 "There were times when, if you sit at a desk for any length of time, working at the computer, you might come to and not know how long you've been nodding," Campbell said.

The Caterpillar retiree visited the Illinois Neurological Institute Sleep Center a few years ago, but admits he didn't keep up with treatment for his sleep apnea. Lately he's been prescribing his own remedies.

"At night I do Tylenol p.m. before I go to sleep,” he said.

He said it’s because he has trouble falling asleep in the first place. Like Campbell, the evasive “good nights sleep” is an issue for millions of Americans. How could such a passive activity impact our lives so much? Doctor Sarah Zallek is the Medical Director at the INI Sleep Center and she’s taking on those mysteries with the staff.

"It’s way harder to get a good night's sleep now because there's so much stuff to do!" Zallek said.
 
Zallek said the lack of sleep leads to numerous health issues, and ultimately impacts everyone financially.

"So if I’m an individual and I have obstructive sleep apnea and if I don't have that treated I may be twice as likely go to the doctor, spend twice as much of my own healthcare dollar on healthcare than if I had my healthcare treated."

Experts report that sleep has become a 30-billion-dollar a year industry and Zallek said that industry is growing.

"People come in having spent a lot of money on sleep enhancements, sleep fixes and wakefulness fixes and sleepiness fixes," Zallek said.

She said lack of sleep could lead to health concerns including include weight gain, high blood pressure and stroke. And there are plenty of other reasons why a good nights sleep is a good idea.

"Plenty of people have lost their jobs literally because they don't sleep well and they don't function well during the day. I've seen lots of patients in that situation," Zallek said.
   
Some experts say the 24-7 use of high tech gadgets may be to blame. As Zallek explains, the body produces melatonin in order to help regulate our sleep.

"In general, light delays melatonin onset. So it may delay sleep onset," she said. "So all that stuff we're doing online and on screen and with bright light at night, delaying."

That includes phones. Dr. Zallek says the light from your cell phone can keep you up. She recommends “parking” your phone outside of the bedroom for the night, along with any other distractions.

"Really limiting the bed and bedroom to sleep and intimacy," Zallek said.
 
After a night of charts and wires, Campbell wakes up to start his day.

"It was fine it went well," he said as he unhooked all the wires that monitored him overnight.

"Once I get back into that groove again then it’ll be fine. I'll get a lot more rest I know that."

Although data from the overall study could take months to analyze, Zallek said the effects of not enough sleep is a pressing situation.
 
"Treating a sleep disorder is probably going to help people save money in the long run."

So rest up now and hopefully you won’t lose any sleep over more healthcare costs in the future.

Dr. Zallek has a couple more tips that people can use to get a better sleep without spending a dime. She said people should aim for the same bedtime every night and try to get eight hours. If you want to watch TV or read, she says to do that in another room. Zallek says minimize the caffeine and don't drink any late in the day.

As for staying refreshed the next day, Zallek says bright light can fight sleepiness. She says exercise can give you energy even if its' just a quick walk, as long as you don't work out within two or three hours of bed time. 

For more information on sleep from the Centers for Disease Control click on the following articles:

Insufficient Sleep Is a Public Health Epidemic

Report on Sleep Data


 
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