Here's a wake-up call for workers everywhere: Your sleepless nights are costing you. And we're not just talking about that $19.95 you spent on the perfect meatloaf pan at 2 a.m.
The average American employee loses about 11.3 days of productivity per year due to insomnia, according to a new study in the journal Sleep. When converted to cash, that's about $2,280. And spread across the national workforce, that adds up to 252.7 days and $63.2 billion down the tubes. The staggering numbers are based on a survey of 7,500 of us working stiffs.
But most of these costs aren't due to sleepyheads skipping work, says Donna Arand, Ph.D., of the Sleep Disorders Centers at Kettering Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. "People with insomnia don't miss work more than others. They're there, but they're not fully engaged with what they're doing," she says. (Confession: As the creators of the 101 Hottest Women of 2011 photo gallery, we rarely have this problem.)
So, what's a guy to do the day after he's tossed and turned? Try these tips for perking up in the office from Craig Schwimmer, MD, M.P.H., F.A.C.S., medical director of The Snoring Center in Dallas.
Salute the sun
Making sure you're exposed to sunlight in the morning will reinforce your natural biological rhythms, Schwimmer says. After all, you're supposed to be awake now, even if you didn't get enough rest last night.
Get your blood flowing
Do a light workout before your commute. And we mean light—think 10 to 15 minutes of brisk walking, not a 10-mile run. It's stimulating enough to increase sympathetic activity, the part of your nervous system that controls your internal organs, says Schwimmer. "This elevates alertness and preparedness for action."
That Snickers bar might fire you up for a few minutes. But when your body produces extra insulin in response, you'll feel a rebound crash, the effects of which are amplified if you're low on sleep. Instead, eat small meals rich in protein and complex carbohydrates.
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