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E-Zzz sleep enhancement

A few hours of lost sleep can affect performance at work. If you have to get up and go to work the next day, you may feel sluggish and unproductive and our workload may even be tougher than usual. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kristoffer Kaubisch)

A few hours of lost sleep can affect performance at work. If you have to get up and go to work the next day, you may feel sluggish and unproductive and our workload may even be tougher than usual. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kristoffer Kaubisch)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Waking up in the morning can sometimes feel like a major ordeal, especially when you're not getting enough rest at night. Your eyes are dry, limbs are heavy and your productivity for the day can end up being at an all-time low.

Without adequate sleep, decreases in work capabilities can be expected. Many Air Force mishaps have cited fatigue as a contributing factor.

A typical person should get between seven to eight hours of sleep a night; however, as people age the need for a longer period of sleep is decreased, according to the Center for Deployment Psychology. Many factors affect nightly sleep including stage of sleep and one's circadian rhythm.

The 5th Medical Group Health Promotions Flight offers sleep hygiene training for shift workers, missilers, and those on flying status.

According to the Center for Deployment Psychology, sleep is a basic human requirement, just like food and water. The demanding schedules required by military operations can have a profound effect on sleep/wake schedules. Ensuring Air Force warfighters are well rested and alert for duty is pivotal to mission success and safety.

Some things that can cause bad sleeping habits are sleeping with pets or children in your bed, having alcohol before going to sleep, pain, some medications, vitamins, and supplements can affect your sleeping habits. Alcohol metabolizes into sugar waking a person up, therefore, causing and interruption in their sleep patterns according to the Center for Deployment Psychology.

"If you do not get an adequate amount of sleep, your ability to concentrate and energy level will be decreased, thus, causing a challenge to perform at optimal levels," said Carbo.

A few hours of lost sleep can affect performance at work. If you have to get up and go to work the next day, you may feel sluggish and unproductive. Your workload may even be tougher than usual.
There are many things a person can do to help stay alert during the work day if they are suffering from lack of sleep.

"Take breaks, get up and walk around approximately every hour if mission allows," Carbo says. "If you are able to change tasks frequently, change your focus in order to stay alert."

Insufficient sleep can cause impaired memory, inability to focus, weight gain, diabetes, more prone to infections, and decreased ability to learn and retain information, said Carbo.

Getting better sleep at night is not only applicable for the work day, but there is also health risks involved with inadequate sleep.

For Airmen seeking further assistance and information regarding better sleep, the Mental Health Clinic offers a sleep enhancement class. The class teaches health risks, things that can affect good sleep, caffeine effects, sleep enhancement tips, ways to fall asleep faster, relaxation/deep breathing exercise, stress busting, and sensory experiences.

Anyone can attend the class and they meet every Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Mental Health Clinic.
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