Are you getting enough sleep? Many Americans don’t sleep enough, and there can often be health consequences when you don’t sleep the recommended amount.
Here’s some information on the benefits of sleep, along with some tips on how to improve your sleep.
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Statistics About Sleeping in the US
- According to a 2013 Gallup Poll, Americans sleep for an average of 6.8 hours a night. In 1942, the average American slept for 7.9 hours.
- 59% of the population get 7 plus hours of sleep each night.
- 40% of the population gets less than 7 hours of sleep.
- Interestingly, 56% of Americans say they get all the sleep they need.
- 67% of Americans over 65 year of age get 7 plus hours of sleep each night.
- 54% of 18-29 year olds get 7 or more hours of sleep per night.
- According to the CDC, school children need at least 10 hours of sleep. Teenagers need between 9 and 10. Adults need 7 to 8.
- As of 2009, only 31%of high school students found that they get over 8 hours of sleep each school night.
What Causes Lack of Sleep?
- Using addictive technologies (e.g. social media sites) at all hours and more demanding work or schooling schedules may lead to a lack of sleep.
- But health issues—such as insomnia or sleep apnea—may also cause sleeplessness.
- Roughly 50-70 million US adults suffer from some form of disorder related to sleep or wakefulness.
Downsides of Not Getting Enough Sleep
- According to the CDC, insufficient sleep is linked to health issues, accidents and mental impairments.
- Lack of sleep increases probability of having an accident when driving or handling heavy machinery.
- People who don’t sleep enough are also more likely to suffer from cancer, see an increase in life-threating accidents, chronic diseases like diabetes, depression, obesity, and hypertension, and a drop in overall productivity and quality of living.
Benefits of Sleep
Sleeping the recommended amount can have a number of benefits, including:
- Improved memory
- Stronger immune system
- Sharper mental state or boost creativity
- Help maintain a healthy weight
Sleeping more can help fight depression, lower stress and also boost overall longevity.
For example, according to one study of women between the ages of 50 and 79, those that slept less than 6 hours a night had higher rates of death than those who slept more than 6 hours.
Tips on How to Improve Your Sleep
- Try to go to bed at the same time each night, and try to be up at the same time each day.
- Minimize stimulant and depressant intake before bed: avoid alcohol, caffeine or nicotine before bed if you have trouble falling sleep.
- Try not to eat a large meal before bed.
- An hour or so before bedtime, shut off the lights, or only keep a few on. This will tell your body that it’s almost time to go to sleep.
- Is your room too hot or cold? Sleep with a fan on or try a space heater.
- Too noisy? Wear earplugs or try tinkering with a white-noise machine.
- Relax before bed: try reading a book or write in a journal. Avoid watching TV or playing with electronics, as they can act as a stimulant.