So many Americans are not getting the amount of sleep that they need to be healthy mentally and physically. In fact, according to the CDC, more than a third of us are sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation, even mild to moderate, can have negative or even devastating effects on someone’s life.
How Much is Too Little?
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society says that the average adult needs at least seven hours of sleep per night, regularly, to avoid negative repercussions.
A Steep Cost
Did you know that being sleep deprived can actually affect someone as much or even more than if they were intoxicated by alcohol? Moderate sleep deprivation can disturb one’s cognition and motor skills. Think about how many Americans are working or getting behind the wheel of a car every day. It wouldn’t be efficient or safe for them to do so under the influence of alcohol, and it’s not efficient or safe for them to do it without the proper amount of sleep.
Sleep deprivation can:
- Sorely hinder work performance and productivity
- Lower one’s immunity so he or she gets sick much more often
- Put someone in danger of being injured or even killed in a car accident
- Make someone more forgetful, irritable or depressed
Additionally, the CDC also warns us that repeated sleep deprivation puts some at risk of “developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress.”
How You Can Get More
How can you get more sleep? There are many things you can try, including:
- Try to keep up with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle by striving to go to sleep at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every day – even on weekends.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks in the afternoon. Caffeine can sometimes stay in your system for up to 10-12 hours!
Avoid caffeinated beverages in the afternoon and night.
- Stay away from sugars and refined carbs. These can make you jittery and make it more difficult for you to fall asleep at night.
- Don’t look at screens right before bed. Phone screens, tablet screens, computers or televisions should be off limits, because the blue light emitted suppresses melatonin which controls your sleep. Can’t put the electronics down? See if your tablet and phone have a blue light filter option. There are also apps that you can download which can eliminate blue light.
- Engage in regular physical activity so that you feel more tired at bedtime. Doing more rigorous exercise in the morning or afternoon is better than right before bed because it releases the hormone cortisol, which can make you feel immediately energized rather than sleepy. If before bed is the only time you have to exercise, opt for more a lower impact activity like yoga.
- Keep your stress under control. This one may be easier said than done, but if stress and anxiety are dominating your waking hours, it may seriously interfere with your sleep at night. The more sleep deprived you are, the more anxious and stressed you’ll become. Break the cycle by trying meditation, doing breathing exercises or even seeing a counselor.
We’re Here to Help
Contact us today if you feel overwhelmed by sleep deprivation.