As Easy As Changing Your Pillow

by Karen Langhauser 27, April 2012
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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that somewhere between 50 and 70 million adults in the United States have chronic sleep and wakefulness disorders.

 Not surprisingly, approximately one-third of adults are sleeping fewer than 7 hours each night – the National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night for most adults. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, sleep disorders account for approximately $16 billion in annual health care costs, and Cornell University psychologist and sleep expert James Maas estimates that sleep deprivation and sleep disorders cost the American economy at least $150 billion a year!

If these stats don’t worry you, maybe these CDC findings will. Sleep deprivation is not only costly, but dangerous too. After a review of national behavioral health data, the federal agency found:

• More than 1 in 3 adults (37.9%) said they unintentionally fell asleep during the day at least once in 30 days.
• Nearly 1 in 20 adults (4.7%) reported nodding off or falling asleep while driving at least once in 30 days.

Most recently, a study by researchers at Scripps Clinic Viterbi Family Sleep Centre in San Diego has linked hypnotic sleeping pills to a 4.6 percent greater risk of death and a 35 percent increased risk of cancer among regular pill users.

What many people do not realize is that getting a better night’s sleep may be as simple (and as safe) as changing their pillows. According to the Johns Hopkins Hospital Neck-Pain and Quality-of-Sleep Study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, proper selection of a pillow can significantly reduce neck pain and improve quality of sleep. In this same study, the Mediflow Waterbase pillow was shown to improve the quality of sleep (and reduce neck pain) best, over all pillows tested.

The Johns Hopkins study examined four factors: (1) How quickly subjects fell asleep, (2) How few times subjects woke up, (3) Perceptions of sleep compared to normal, and (4) Overall quality of sleep. Mediflow’s water-based pillow ranked “Best” in all four categories when compared to the others tested. 

Before turning to pharmaceuticals or other more drastic measures, you should make sure to examine the factors that might be contributing to your sleep problems. The answer to your insomnia may be simpler than you think.

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