Sleep deprivation is a public health crisis
ECB Publishing. Inc.
In order for adults to function well throughout their day, health professionals recommend that the average adult gets about seven hours of deep, restful sleep a night.
However, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the average American adult gets far less sleep than they should, and the result is a widespread case of sleep deprivation, which the CDC is now classifying as a public health crisis.
A report issued by the CDC reports that one-third of adults in the United States get less than the medically recommended amount of sleep, and other adults report that they suffer from sleep-related problems at least once a week.
“Not getting enough sleep is linked with many chronic diseases and conditions—such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression—that threaten our nation’s health,” writes the CDC.
Aside from the diseases and conditions that sleep deprivation can be linked to, not getting enough sleep can cause people to be drowsy while driving or at work, which results in motor vehicle crashes or injuries in the workplace.
“Getting enough sleep is not a luxury—it is something people need for good health,” the CDC adds.
A study of Florida’s adults and their sleep patterns show that women are slightly more likely to get less than seven hours of sleep compared to men. This could be the result of household or childcare responsibilities.
Adults between the ages of 25-34 are the group that is most likely to not get enough sleep, while adults aged 65 and older are more likely to get the required amount of sleep needed for healthy functioning.
The sleep-deprived adults who participated in the CDC’s survey reported that when they received less than seven hours of sleep, their body mass index was higher. They had less time for leisure activities and were more likely to smoke excessively.
Oddly enough, the CDC reports that heavy smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can actually cause adults to get less sleep or experience sleep that is less restful.
While conditions and diseases such as asthma, cancer, arthritis, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, heart attacks, depression, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exist in adults who do get enough sleep each night, the CDC reports in their findings that adults who do not get the recommended hours of sleep are more likely to be affected by these physical and mental health issues and the prevalence of these conditions are found more frequently in adults who do not get seven hours of sleep.
Not getting enough sleep is not usually a choice, but a result of a lifestyle that causes sleep deprivation. Lifestyle choices that result in sleep deprivation can include inconsistent bedtimes, occupational factors such as working late hours or long shifts, and the use of technology prior to bed. Certain medical conditions, medications, and sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can also cause sleeping troubles that prevent people from falling asleep or getting a good night’s rest.
In order to get the correct and the recommended length of sleep, the CDC suggests that people who are having trouble sleeping try to increase their physical activity throughout the day, maintain a healthy weight, stop smoking and moderate their alcohol consumption.
Some people argue that consuming larger amounts of alcohol actually helps individuals fall asleep, but while that may be true, alcohol eventually wears off and causes the sleeper to awaken more often during the night.
During a survey of youth and adolescent sleep patterns, it was revealed that 59.7 percent of ninth graders, 67.4 percent of tenth graders, 73.3 percent of eleventh graders, and 76.6 percent of twelfth graders all report that they do not receive the eight hours that is recommended for youths.