Getting enough sleep is a nightly battle for busy Americans, who need at least 7 hours each night. But it’s a battle worth winning because sleep is such an important part of good health.
Why is it a bad idea to consistently not get enough sleep?
Getting enough sleep is just as important to your overall health as regular exercise and healthy eating. Sleeping less than 7 hours a night on a regular basis can affect a person’s ability to make good decisions and increases the chance of getting into a vehicle accident. Sleep deprivation also increases the risk for heart disease, diabetes and several other chronic diseases. It could even cause a person to gain weight or die at a younger age than those who get the recommended amount of sleep.
How much sleep should we be getting?
Adults generally need 7-8 hours a night. School-aged children need at least 10 hours, while teens need 9-10 hours each night.
Who is most at risk for not getting enough sleep?
Well, that’s a risk for everyone, but especially for anyone who works a night, evening, or rotating shift. Doctors and nurses, truck drivers, law enforcement and emergency response workers are some of the people who might have a more difficult time getting the recommended amount of sleep. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an interesting map on its website that shows that getting enough sleep might be regional. In Idaho, for example, around 70% percent of all adults said they get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. That’s pretty good!
What are some things we can do to get a healthy amount of sleep?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends the same bed time and wake-up time, no matter what day of the week it is. As the evening winds down, avoid large meals and physical activity that could keep you from falling asleep. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing and not too hot or cold. Make sure your bed is comfortable, and, finally, charge your electronic devices in another room.
- How much sleep do I need? http://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html
- Sleep map of the United States: http://www.cdc.gov/features/getting-enough-sleep/index.html
- sleep.org: Some great tips and articles here.
- Sleep and sleep disorders at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/sleep/
- National Sleep Foundation