We are a Sleep-Deprived Nation

We sleep 18-22 hours

We sleep for 18-22 hours a day

Do you often complain that you need more sleep? A 2002 sleep survey done by the National Sleep Foundation showed that almost 74% of Americans do not get enough sleep at night. Before Edison invented the light bulb, people slept for about 10 hours, on average.  That number is now 6 hours!

Without adequate periods of rest for physical and mental repair, you may not be able to function at your peak. Here are some of the short-term consequences of not getting enough sleep:

  • Decreased daytime alertness 
  • Impaired memory and cognitive ability, the ability to think and process information
  • More than double the risk of sustaining an occupational injury
  • Impaired immune system
  • Stressed relationships & poor quality of life

Over the long term you may be faced with:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack or heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Weight Gain
  • Depression and other mood disorders
  • Mental impairment
  • Increased mortality risk
  • Relationship problems
  • Diabetes

The amount of sleep you need depends on many factors, including physical activity, emotional issues, diet and of course, age. Infants need 16 hours a day; teenagers – 9 hours on average; most adults – 7 to 8 hours and women in the first 3 months of pregnancy often need several more hours of sleep than usual.

Our internal body clock governs our daily or circadian rhythm – telling us when to wake up and when to feel sleepy.  In future posts I will give you some solutions for insomnia but right now you might want to visit an interesting site that allows you to do a very short test, the results of which produce a chart showing your natural sleeping and waking pattern over a 24-hour period. If you’re finding it difficult to get enough sleep, it could be that your natural body clock is at odds with your routine.

Check it out at – http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/sleep/crt/

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