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News You Can Use - May 2015

Information and tips to help you live healthier and happier

Get adequate sleep to help fight stress

Sleepy LadyStress experts report that chronically stressed people almost always suffer from fatigue and people who are tired do not cope well with stress. When distressed people get more sleep, they feel better and are more resilient and adaptable in dealing with day-to-day events.

Did you know that most sleep difficulties (about 80%) are either caused or reinforced by our own behaviors or daily habits? If you have trouble sleeping, the tips below will help you get the most out of your hours in bed:

Stay away from stimulants. Coffee, tea, colas, chocolate and some over-the-counter medications contain caffeine which stimulates the central nervous system and increases blood pressure and heart rate. Drinking a can of cola or cup of coffee in the late afternoon can keep you awake at midnight. Avoid consuming caffeine at least 4 to 6 hours before bedtime.

Don't smoke, especially before bed. The nicotine in cigarettes is a stimulant. Insomnia is among smokers' greatest complaints. Research shows that smokers take longer to fall asleep and wake up more often during the night than nonsmokers. Having a smoke before bed may feel relaxing, but it is actually putting a stimulant into your bloodstream.

Go to bed at regular hours. An erratic schedule can cause problems such as "Sunday night insomnia." This problem occurs to people who stay up late and sleep late on weekends and then try to switch back to their usual bedtime to prepare for Monday morning. Try to go to bed at roughly the same time each night and, no matter how long you slept, get up at your usual time in the morning.

Exercise regularly. Sleep is facilitated by relaxation and exercised muscles relax more easily. Aim for 20 minutes of exercise that increases your heart rate at least three times a week. Late afternoon is best.

Don't use alcohol to induce sleep. A nightcap can lull you to sleep, but alcohol typically produces light, unsettled sleep. Also, using alcohol to fall asleep could lead to dependency.

Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Set the mood for relaxation before bed. Start letting down about an hour before bedtime: read, listen to music or take a warm bath.

Don't take sleeping pills; they induce less restful sleep and can cause serious problems. Oftentimes, the person relying on sleeping pills is left with his/her original insomnia, plus a drug problem.

Employee Assistance Program Services

Employee Assistance Program symbolThe Broward County Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to all Broward County Government employees and their families to assist with most personal problems affecting the quality of life at home or on the job at no charge. Participation in the program is voluntary and completely confidential. Licensed professionals can assist you with:

  • Family problems
  • Work conflicts
  • Stress
  • Grief and loss
  • Financial problems
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Anxiety

Call for a free and confidential appointment or more information at 954-357-5600 or email at Additional information on our services is also available at

Copyright © 2015 Healthy Exchange. This newsletter is not intended to provide medical advice on personal wellness matters, which should be obtained directly from your physician.

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