Is Insufficient Sleep a Growing Trend in the US?
Is the US Getting Enough Sleep?
According to an article published by CNN in 2009, the annual poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation revealed that Americans get only 6.7 hours of sleep on a weekday. This was a decline from the mean of 7 hours recorded in 2001.
Another survey conducted by the American Psychological Association reported that about 52% of the citizens do not get enough sleep because of stress. Yet another poll conducted by Gallup in December 2013 revealed that 40% of the people in the United States do not get the recommended amount of sleep. The results revealed that only 59% of the Americans get more than 7 hours of sleep and the average have come down by an hour since 1942.
Health experts say that an adult should get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. However, the number of people who actually do manage to do just that has been declining with passing time. In fact, 43% Americans accepted that they do not get enough sleep and would be happier if they could get some more. Interestingly, 67% of the people above the age of 65 are getting enough nap time but nearly half of the population below 50 years fall in the sleep deprived category.
What is the Impact on Daily Life?
The fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared insufficient sleep as a public health problem shows the kind of impact it is having on our day-to-day lives. Unintentionally falling asleep, nodding off while driving and a lethargic approach towards work not only increases the risk for you but also makes you a liability for the people around you. Here are some of the side effects of inadequate sleep:
- Sleeping for less than seven hours a night increases the chances of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic illnesses.
- Lack of sleep also leads to many memory related problems and can have a drastic impact on concentration levels. It is also associated with increased depression, emotional reactivity and negativity in life.
- People who do not sleep enough are like the Ghost Rider on the road. Tired drivers are involved in 100,000 accidents, 71,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths every year in the United States.
- Inadequate sleep has a direct impact on your work life. People tend to make more mistakes because of lack of focus and a study revealed that insomnia leads to about 274,000 workplace accidents every year, resulting in financial losses of $31 billion. This includes professionals from all the fields, including pilots, police officers, doctors, etc.
How to Deal with it?
A study published in the Sleep Health Journal revealed that the sleep pattern in the United States varies from state to state but the reason for this geographic variability is still to be discovered. What you can do is take some simple steps and ensure that you get enough rest to maintain a healthy life:
- Schedule Your Day: It may sound a little old-school but it is undoubtedly the best way to deal with this problem. Maintain a strict schedule for the weekdays, with a little liberty on the weekends, and your life will be back on track. It will also allow your body to get used to a set pattern.
- Use Sleep Aids: When people have to work for long hours, they take caffeine to stay up, but what if they want to sleep early? Using sleep aid products can help you get rid of stress and get sound sleep, although many people might not be aware of these products, say experts at Nature's Wellness.
- Get Help When Needed: Most people tend to ignore sleep disorders and don't seek any treatment for it, which is why 80 to 90% of the cases remain undiagnosed. If you need to get rid of the problem once and for all, consult a specialist.