Sleep is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Since we spend around a third of our lives sleeping, it’s inevitable for the field not to have its own number of experts. But sleep is also of concern to public health organizations, especially when it is lacking. And when a large segment of population seems to have unhealthy behaviors, it raises the concerns even further. This is how a new study from the CDC showed that sleep deprivation affects one third of Americans.
As reports about insufficient sleep or insomnia have risen to worrying levels, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention undertook a study in order to determine exactly how serious the problem actually is. The study was nation-wide and it involved more than 400,000 American adults.
Asked how much sleep they usually get in a 24 hours period, over one third of the responders reported sleeping less than seven hours. Additionally, 11% got fewer than five hours of sleep every day, 23% got six hours, and only 4.4% reported more than nine hours of sleep every night.
The study reported Hawaii to be state whose citizens got the least amount of sleep. Meanwhile, states like Minnesota, South Dakota, and Colorado reported the highest sleep levels in the country. Overall, the study reported over 83 million adults in the United States getting less than the recommended amount of sleep.
CDC and sleep
The recommended amount sleep is, according to the CDC, seven hours every day. Previous reports have shown that sleeping more than eight hours, as well as less than seven hours is associated with conditions such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, mental illnesses, an increased BMI, and an overall increased chance of premature death.
Led by CDC epidemiologist Anne Wheaton (not to be confused with Wil Wheaton’s wife of the same name), the study shows that lack of sleep has become a nation-wide health problem. It did not find associations between lack of sleep and any particular activity, but the CDC did recommend a few ways of potentially getting a better night sleep.
Sleeping in a dark, relaxing, and quiet environment is definitely going to help you sleep slightly better, as is avoiding vitamin C, caffeine, alcohol, and large meals before attempting to doze off. Turning off all sources of light, especially LEDs and other blinking devices will also help a lot.
As sleep is so closely tied in to your health and overall life expectancy, and since the lack of sleep affecting one in three Americans has reached epidemical levels, the CDC warn us to take some sleep health education classes, or at least follow the basic guidelines of getting a good night sleep.
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