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Stop yawning and start sleeping

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

You've heard that Americans don't get enough sleep. But you shrug it off and keep yawning your way into a daze at work.

Employees spend increasingly more time on the job with average workdays of 9.5 hours plus 4.5 more hours each week working from home, according to the National Sleep Foundation in Washington, D.C. About 28 percent of workers say lack of sleep interferes with their daily activities.

Even more alarming, nearly 30 percent of workers report nodding off on the job, while 36 percent say they have almost dozed off while driving a car. The actual numbers are probably higher given the reluctance of some people to acknowledge the extent of their sleepiness.

Instead of denying the problem, confront it head-on and take corrective action. Stick to a consistent bedtime schedule seven days a week. Don't play "catch up" on weekends with your sleep or you'll perpetuate an imbalanced sleep-wake cycle that exacerbates your drowsiness during the workweek.

Create the right environment in your bedroom for soothing sleep. Dim the lighting as you get into bed. If you read, use a book light rather than an overly bright lamp. Check the temperature so that you're not too hot or cold. Experiment with earplugs and form-fitting pillows to maximize your comfort.

Set the stage to sleep

In the three hours before your bedtime, limit your eating. People who consume heavy meals or indulge in rich desserts before hitting the sack tend to experience more fitful sleep.

Stop drinking caffeinated beverages for eight hours before bedtime and avoid alcohol after dinner. For some people, drinking even one or two tall glasses of water before bed can lead to midnight bathroom visits.

Relaxing habits can facilitate satisfying sleep. A nightly ritual such as drinking a small mug of noncaffeinated tea about 30 minutes before "lights off" can help you transition to sleep with a minimum of fuss.

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