Quiz: Are You a Healthy Sleeper?
Part 2 of an 8-part series: Take this fun quiz, and learn the Secrets of Healthy Americans, based on our national poll. And be sure to download our free Secrets of Healthy Americans reports at the end of this quiz!
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Humana and Reader’s Digest polled the nation to bring you the Secrets of Healthy Americans, and we’re sharing the highlights with you in this 8-part series. Answer the questions here. Then see how you compare to the nationwide sample who took the Humana Reader’s Digest Healthy Habits Survey 2012—and get easy-to-follow advice to help you live a healthier life.
And, as an exclusive bonus, download all 8 free parts of our Secrets of Healthy Americans reports, including 200+ health tips on Fitness, Sleep, Germs, Protecting Yourself From Illness, Eating Right, Boosting Your Mood, Reducing Stress, and Sharpening Your Brain.
1. How many hours of sleep did you get last night?
a) Less than 6 hours
b) 6 to 7 hours
c) 7 to 8 hours
d) 8 to 9 hours
e) 10 hours or more
1. Here's how you compare:
Our Healthy Habits Survey shows that Americans are chronically sleep deprived. Overall, Americans are averaging a wink less than seven hours—an hour a night less than experts recommend. Experts say the body needs eight to nine hours of sleep to restore itself from the wear and tear of everyday life. Getting proper sleep can improve your mood, help control weight, and boost your memory and alertness.
Here’s an idea: Most people use alarms to wake up. Use your alarm to go to bed—and to wake up—at the same times every day of the week, including weekends. First, do a little math. What time do you like to wake up? Now subtract eight or nine hours to calculate your ideal bedtime—the time you should be in bed ready to sleep. Set your alarm to remind you to go to bed at your ideal time tonight!
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2. How much time passed last night between when you finished eating and when you went to bed?
a) 1 hour or less
b) 1 to 2 hours
c) 2 to 3 hours
d) 3 to 4 hours
e) 5 or more hours
© Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock
2. Here's how you compare:
In the poll, roughly two-thirds of respondents said they stopped eating three or more hours before going to bed—just what the experts advise for better digestion. Only 15% climbed into bed less than an hour after eating.
Here’s an idea: Nearly everyone knows that heartburn can keep you awake and sometimes wake you up. But so can antacids. Antacids contain aluminum, which appears to interfere with sleep. If you must take antacids, take them right after dinner, not right before bed.
3. What time did you go to sleep last night?
a) Before 9 p.m.
b) Between 9 and 9:59 p.m.
c) Between 10 and 10:59 p.m.
d) Between 11 and 11:59 p.m.
e) After midnight
3. Here's how you compare:
America is becoming a nation of midnight owls. Half of adults are up after 11 p.m. And about half of them—some 24% overall—are still not in bed after midnight! Who knew Jay Leno was so entertaining?
Here’s an idea: Our survey shows that midnight owls tend to do things they shouldn’t—such as snacking, sleeping less and waking up tired. Some 44% of them are still eating less than an hour before bed, and 34% admit to being more than 50 pounds overweight. In addition, they average only a little over 6 hours of sleep. Don’t be a night owl. Condition your body to sleep by shutting off the TV or computer, and winding down for at least a half hour before heading to bed. Do whatever relaxes you—listen to soothing music, take a bath, or read a pleasing novel (but nothing scary like Stephen King!).
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4. Once you turned off the lights last night, how long did it take you to fall asleep?
a) Almost immediately
b) Within 15 minutes
c) Within 30 minutes
d) Within 1 hour
e) More than 1 hour
© Jeffrey Hamilton/Stockbyte/Thinkstock
4. Here’s how you compare:
Most Americans (69%) are asleep within 15 minutes. But roughly one person out of 10 needs up to an hour or more. Those having that much trouble falling asleep are far more likely than others to say they feel stressed or overwhelmed.
Here’s an idea: Reserve your bedroom for two activities. Sleep is the one you do every night. Your bedroom should never be the place where you go to worry. Do that in the kitchen. Try this: Sit at the kitchen table hours before you go to bed and update your daily to-do list. Then leave your anxieties and concerns outside the bedroom door. Once you tuck into bed, if you’re still awake after 15 or 20 minutes, stop staring at the ceiling. Trying to force yourself to sleep raises your tension and actually prevents you from drifting off. Instead, get up and take your worries to another room. Then do whatever relaxes you, like light reading or sipping an herbal non-caffeinated tea, until you feel sleepy again.
5. How many times did you wake up and get out of bed last night?
d) Three times or more
5. Here's how you compare:
On average, Americans wake up and get out of bed once a night. However, 42% of those 65 or older get up two times or more, compared to only 26% of those aged 18 to 44.
Here’s an idea: Growing research suggests that sleep problems in many older Americans may be a symptom of underlying illness, pain, or side effects of at least eight different classes of drugs, including anti-depressants and blood pressure medicine. Older people who sleep poorly, as well as anyone else suffering from chronic insomnia, annoying allergies or loud snoring, would be wise to check with a doctor to learn more about the problem.
More serious concerns aside, there are several ways you can try to eliminate whatever may be interrupting your sleep. Stop drinking, especially alcohol, two hours before you turn in. Added liquids in your pipeline can trigger nighttime urination, especially as your bladder shrinks with age. In addition, while alcohol may help knock you out, you may find yourself wide awake a few hours later when the effects wear off. Also, block any disturbing light with drapes or an eye mask. Muffle street noises, or that freight train sleeping next to you, with quality earplugs. And, as if you needed another reason, stop smoking. Even being around the nicotine in cigarette smoke can hurt your ability to fall asleep—and stay asleep.
6. How did you feel when you woke up this morning?
a) Refreshed and ready to face the day
b) OK, but wishing you could get more sleep
c) Still tired
6. Here’s how you compare:
Not surprisingly in a nation averaging under seven hours of sleep a night, nearly 60% of Americans wake up tired, or at least wishing they could sleep a little longer. Higher income Americans, in particular, are much more likely than others to sleep only six or seven hours—and wake up tired.
Here’s an idea: Make a commitment today to sleep the same eight or nine block of hours every night of the week. Sleep can be an effective healer. Studies show that only a night or two of refreshing sleep can lift your mood, clear your thinking and reverse metabolic changes that can threaten your health. Sleep right and you’ll sleep tight—and wake up refreshed.
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