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Sleep Deprivation: A Growing Health Epidemic

Sleep is a natural human function, but many people find some difficulties with it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), insufficient sleep is becoming a health epidemic, affecting about two-thirds of American adults.

Insufficient Sleep The CDC defines insufficient sleep as either getting too little or too much sleep. Inadequate sleep can lead to poor quality of life and decreased levels of productivity. It is also linked to a number of health complications such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and cancer. In a study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas, and the University of Washington, people who sleep no more than seven hours had an increased heritability of depressive behaviors, with 53 percent increase for short sleepers and 49 percent for excessive sleepers.

The Ideal Amount of Sleep The amount of sleep a person needs depends on different factors such as age, lifestyle, and health. Although there is no specific standard for sleep the amount of sleep, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) suggests that the majority of adults need seven to nine hours to feel rested. Teenagers, on the other hand, need 8.25 to 9.25 hours of sleep every night. Meanwhile, schoolage children need at least 10 hours of sleep. The reality, however, is different. In a 2013 NSF bedroom poll, 56 percent of people ages 25 to 35 get an insufficient amount of sleep on working days. On non-working days, on the other hand, they are more likely to oversleep. Many individuals spend additional minutes or hours of sleep to make up for the insufficient slumber in the workweek.

Good Sleep Hygiene Sleep hygiene refers to the promotion of good and regular sleep habits. People can acquire and maintain a good sleeping habit by working with their body clock or sticking to a sleep schedule. Creating comfortable sleeping environment like investing a comfortable mattress and pillow, or making sure that the room is dark enough also helps. People can dramatically improve the quality of their sleep by making a few adjustments in their attitude and lifestyle. Many people do not realize how important sufficient sleep is. The time spent in sleeping, however, is a time well spent. Apart from making a person feel better, a healthy sleep can benefit the heart, weight, mind, and overall health.


Sleep Deprivation: A Growing Health Epidemic