A new government report shows only one-third of adults are getting sufficient sleep or rest every night. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some 70 million American adults suffer from sleep and wakefulness disorders.
Seven or more hours of sleep each night will result in greater quality of life, better work performance and alertness.
Researchers have long known that lack of sleep is bad for your health. According to sleep experts, insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions including cardiovascular disease, cigarette smoking, depression, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and stroke.
For the report, the CDC studied responses of more than 403,000 Americans from a survey given in 2008. They were asked - “During the past 30 days, how many days have you felt you did not get enough rest or sleep?”
Of those surveyed, 11.1 percent said they did not get enough sleep every day of the month. Additionally, researchers found that women (12.4%) were more likely than men (9.9%) to report not getting sufficient sleep. There were also ethnic disparities, with blacks (13.3%) saying they got less sleep compared with other ethnic groups.
Geographical differences were also noted and ranged from a low 7.4 percent of people in North Dakota not getting enough sleep to a high 19.3 percent in West Virginia. (See a state-by-state map.)
The main causes of sleep loss are overlapping and include lifestyle, occupation and specific disorders, the report noted.
An estimated 20 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is involuntary and the individual usually wakes himself up after a breathing pause that lasts at least ten seconds up to 30 seconds, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause a high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, memory problems, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and headaches.
Tips for Better Sleep
Try to create and maintain a regular sleep schedule for waking and bedtime.
Give yourself two hours to settle down before bed – avoid stimulating activities and consuming caffeine, chocolate, alcohol or nicotine products.
Sleep in a quiet, dark, cool room.
Those people that have trouble sleeping should seek the help of a sleep specialist. Sleep medications, prescribed by your doctor, can also be helpful. #