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    Sleep apnea

    Sleeping around: Americans dozing off in strange places


    By Gina Roberts-Grey


    A Better Sleep Council (BSC) survey found 45 percent of Americans fall asleep someplace other than on their mattress once a week or more . However, not only do we fall asleep in front of the boob tube, Americans are dozing off in some unusual places, too.


    The survey says overall, one-third of Americans are “sleeping around” more than once a week; 1 in 10 do so daily.


    Men slightly edge out women (14 percent vs. 8 percent) as being more likely to nod off or fall asleep somewhere other than their bed. And when asked about the strange places they’ve fallen asleep, those participating in the BSC survey reported:


    • 1 in 10 doze off at work (this number doubled when factoring in students snoozing at their desks)
    • 7 percent take a catnap in church
    • 7 percent admit to sleeping in the car. That’s not surprising if they’re a passenger; however, some reported falling asleep while driving!
    • 6 percent sleep on public transportation
    • 4 percent fall asleep on the toilet


    However, regardless of whether you fall sound asleep, “rest your eyes” or simply take a catnap at various times of the day, sleeping around can disrupt your sleep pattern where it matters most—in the bedroom.


    Dr. Robert S. Rosenberg, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley and Flagstaff, Ariz., noted the bedroom provides the necessary conditioned cues for sleep. And it helps keep your circadian clock ticking on schedule.


    “Sleeping in places other than your bedroom starts to confuse your subconscious, disrupting the natural cue to sleep that happens in the bedroom.”


    Basically, when you sleep in other spots, your brain gets confused and stops associating the bedroom with sleep. So when you finally do go to bed, your brain might not trigger the prompt to the rest of your body to fall asleep, Rosenberg said.


    The fix is simple.


    When a bad case of the head bobs hit, don’t cheat on your bedroom and steal 40 winks. Instead, stand up (if you’re in a place where you can), stretch your arms and legs (if you can’t stand, such as in the car) or take a 10-minute walk. Any of these movements will increase the amount of oxygen in your body and literally get your blood pumping, helping you avoid nodding off anywhere but in your bedroom.


    And because dehydration may cause fatigue, also try drinking a glass of water to stay awake.


    Don’t get a reputation for sleeping around. To help stay alert during the day, try to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night and make healthy sleep habits, such as a relaxing bed ritual, a part of your nightly routine.