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New Booklet Offers Free Pillow Talk

Guide to getting your zzz's comes in time for Sleep Awareness Week

SUNDAY, March 26, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- More and more people are sacrificing sleep to make more time for work, family and other demands. But cutting back on slumber can harm health, notes a new sleep handbook from the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

The new booklet is available in time for National Sleep Awareness Week, March 27 to April 2.

"Our brains are very active during sleep, and research has shown that adequate sleep is important to our overall health, safety, and performance," Michael Twery, acting director of NHLBI's National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, said in a prepared statement.

"Scientists also have a better understanding of how a chronic lack of sleep or an untreated sleep disorder can impair health. Like good nutrition and physical activity, adequate sleep is critical for continued good health," Twery said.

The 60-page handbook includes information about how and why we sleep and offers tips on how to get enough sleep, such as adhering to a sleep schedule, relaxing before going to bed, and using daylight or bright light to adjust to jet lag and shift work schedules.

The booklet, called Your Guide to Healthy Sleep, also discusses sleep disorders and includes a sample sleep diary to help you track your sleep-related habits.

Each year, about 70 million adult Americans experience some type of sleep problem.

"Although there are times during the day when we are naturally likely to feel drowsy, in many cases, sleepiness is a sign that something is amiss," Twery said. "This handbook offers several ideas to help you improve your sleep, but if you feel that you regularly have problems breathing during sleep, wake up unrefreshed after a full night's sleep, or frequently feel very sleepy during the day, you should see your doctor to find out if you could have a sleep disorder."

More information

Here's where you can find a free download of Your Guide to Healthy Sleep.

SOURCE: U.S. National Institutes of Health, news release, March 23, 2006
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