National Sleep Awareness Week Spotlights The Dangers Of Insufficient Shut-Eye

How'd you sleep last night?

If you're among the third of Americans who don't get enough shut-eye, then there's no better opportunity to make sleep a priority than National Sleep Awareness Week, taking place this year from March 7 to 13.

This annual education and awareness campaign, spearheaded by the National Sleep Foundation, aims to help the public, healthcare providers and policymakers better understand the benefits of good sleep habits and the importance of identifying the signs of a sleep disorder.

Sleep deprivation has become a badge of honor for many people, but research shows that adequate sleep is key to a healthy lifestyle. Sleeping the recommended seven to nine hours nightly can benefit your heart, weight and mind -- not to mention your appearance.

The end of National Sleep Awareness Week appropriately coincides with the beginning of Daylight Saving Time -- the "springing forward" that causes Americans to lose an hour of sleep. It is on this day, perhaps more than any other, that the effects of insufficient sleep are felt and lamented. It's important to realize, however, that sleep deprivation may be negatively affecting you all year long.

Take the time to educate yourself about your own sleep needs this week -- and don't forget to get some rest!