Most experts say the 'magic' sleep number is between seven and nine hours a night. Get this amount, and you'll bounce out of bed refreshed, chipper and ready to take on the day. In reality, most Americans do not get even eight hours of sleep a night (only 26 percent do, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF)) and this lack of sleep is affecting our lives.
Consider the telling findings of NSF's 2007 Sleep in America poll:
* 67 percent of women say they frequently experience a sleep problem.
* 60 percent say they only get a good night's sleep a few nights per week or less
* 43 percent say that daytime sleepiness interferes with their daily activities
In fact, according to NSF, this lack of sleep is causing women (and likely many men) to feel stressed out, be late for work, feel too tired for sex and have very little time for their friends.
Of course, this isn't just a matter of getting to bed at a reasonable hour. As many as one in 10 Americans have chronic insomnia, according to the Mayo Clinic, and at least one in four has difficulty sleeping sometimes. Insomnia includes not only difficulty in falling asleep at night, but also waking up during the night or waking up too early.
Though there are physical reasons why people have trouble sleeping, often it's emotional issues that get in the way of a better night's sleep. Common emotional causes of insomnia include:
* Stress (your mind is racing thinking about tomorrow's to-do list)
And while most everyone has been kept awake at one point or another because of an argument or worry, if you're having trouble sleeping on a regular basis then your emotions may be sabotaging your good night's sleep.
How to Stop Worrying and Get a Better Night's Sleep
If you often find yourself lying in bed with your mind racing, unable to sleep because of fear, anxiety, sadness or worry, give The Sedona Method a try. This easy-to-learn, do-it-yourself system will show you how to tap your natural ability to let go of any unwanted feeling you may have that is keeping you from being a sound sleeper.
Ironically, one of the first things that you'll learn from The Sedona Method is that trying to get your mind to stop racing will only make things worse.
'First off stop trying to get your mind to stop racing. When you try to stop a racing mind, your mind simply races more -- and the trying to stop it becomes more racing thoughts,' says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and director of training of Sedona Training Associates.
'The simplest way to stop a racing mind is to welcome whatever is arising in the mind, and then also welcome the silence in which the thoughts are appearing. As you go back and forth between welcoming the thoughts and the silence, your mind will quiet and you will easily fall asleep,' he continues.
Finally, these top sleep tips work excellently when teamed with The Sedona Method to get a truly better night's sleep:
* Write down your tasks for tomorrow before you go to bed. That way, you don't have to keep going over them in your mind.
* Create a bedtime routine that relaxes you (such as taking a warm bath, reading something spiritual or soothing, and drinking a cup of herbal tea).
* Keep your bedroom cool (not cold) and very dark. It's easier to sleep that way.
* Exercise. The activity helps you to feel tired (in a good way) in the evening.