It may be the most welcome health advice you’ll hear, although follow-through may be a challenge: Get more sleep!
Occasional sleep deprivation affects one in four adults. The Institute of Medicine statistics estimate that 50 to 70 million U.S. adults have a sleep or wakefulness disorder. That’s a lot of sleep-deprived individuals, and the results are significantly more serious than a few yawns and baggy eyelids.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends seven to eight hours of sleep for adults. This can help improve your outlook, increase your energy levels, improve your nutrition choices and reduce stress.
Insufficient sleep is associated with diseases and conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression, and cancer. Sleep deprivation negatively affects the immune and nervous system, memory, and physical performance. The effects of sleep deprivation are responsible for substantial injury and disability from motor vehicle and machinery-related accidents each year. In short, not getting enough sleep affects your overall quality of life.
The causes are personal, societal, and medical. Sleep loss or wakefulness can be due to:
- Job schedules – long hours or night shifts
- Habits – using technology late at night
- Sleep disorders – sleep apnea or insomnia
If you aren’t getting the seven to eight hours of sleep recommended by The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, try these tips from the National Sleep Foundation:
- Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each day
- Practice a relaxing bedtime routine to allow yourself to wind down and shift to “sleep mode”
- Avoid eating large meals before bedtime
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol use near bedtime
- Avoid nicotine