Chances are you're not getting the amount of sleep you need every night. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) says insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic , with more than 30% of Americans averaging six hours or less of sleep each night. Lack of sleep is most common in the adult age range of 20-60 years old.
7-9 HOURS OF SLEEP FOR ADULTS. The National Sleep Foundation recently updated their guidelines for sleep recommendations. This update was based on rigorous studies to determine optimal sleep duration ranges for humans. During this update, some new age brackets were created like Young Adults (ages 18-25) to improve accuracy of recommended ranges.
For an adult aged 26-64 years, the new recommended sleep duration range is 7-9 hours a night.
WHY IS SLEEP IMPORTANT? Lack of sleep may not seem like a big deal and just a necessary occurrence of a busy lifestyle, but sleep is extremely important. Lack of sleep is linked to motor vehicle crashes, industrial accidents, and medical and other occupational errors.
SLEEP ALSO AFFECTS YOUR HEALTH. People getting an insufficient amount of sleep are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as:
Individuals lacking sleep are also associated with increased mortality and decreased quality of life and productivity.
SLEEP & FITNESS. Sleep is also critical to maintaining your fitness. While you sleep, your body's hormones are hard at work. The HGH hormones work to grow and repair your muscles and promote your metabolism. Other hormones, such as ghrelin and leptin, are rebalanced to suppress appetite. Cortisol, the stress related hormone that contributes to weight gain when increased, is decreased during sleep.
CAUSES OF LACK OF SLEEP. Some of the causes of lack of sleep can be attributed to 24/7 technology, work schedules, but also sleep disorders can contribute to sleep insufficiency. 50-70 Million US Adults have sleep or wakefulness disorder.
WHAT CAN I DO TO GET MORE SLEEP?
- Adjust your sleep schedule. Figure out what time you want to wake up and plan to go to be 7-9 hours prior.
- Limit distractions. If you have a habit of chronically using your computer from your bed, watching TV in bed, or other work related activities, stop these bad habits because they can impact the quality of your sleep cycle.
- Dark Room. If sunlight bothers you when you're trying to sleep, try blackout curtains on your windows to help create an optimal sleep environment. This is especially helpful if you work night shifts and sleep during daylight hours.
- Don't go to bed with a full bladder. Use the bathroom before you go to sleep.
- Exercise. If you're feeling restless and cannot fall asleep, add exercise to your daily schedule. Exercise, especially vigorous exercise improved the quality of your sleep.
- Avoid caffeine close to bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant so try avoiding close to bedtime if you're having trouble getting those Zzzzz's.
Don't forget to make sleep a priority for your health and happiness!