America, Home of the Sleep-Deprived?
A third of American adults don't get enough sleep — and people in these states sleep the least
New parents, insomniacs and workaholics probably already know they're not getting enough sleep. But they're not alone. According to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a third of American adults do not sleep for seven or more hours each night — the amount experts say is necessary for optimal health and well-being.
People in some states seem to sleep less than those in others. High on the list of sleep-deprived states are Hawaii, Maryland, Alabama and Michigan.
According to the CDC, "A lower proportion of adults reported getting at least seven hours of sleep per day in states clustered in the southeastern region of the United States and the Appalachian Mountains. Previous studies have shown that these regions also have the highest prevalence of obesity and other chronic conditions." The findings are based on a survey of more than 444,000 people in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.
South Dakotans catch more Zzz's than any other Americans: 71.6 percent of people living in that state get adequate sleep. Other sleep-loving states are Colorado, Minnesota and Nebraska. People with a college degree and married people get more sleep, according to the survey, than others.
Logging too little shuteye does more than leave you feeling droopy. “Sleeping [less than] 7 hours per night is associated with increased risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, frequent mental distress, and all-cause mortality,” the CDC report states.
Related: Can't Lose Weight? Check Your Sleep
Sleep-deprivation can be a safety issue too. “Insufficient sleep impairs cognitive performance, which can increase the likelihood of motor vehicle and other transportation accidents, industrial accidents, medical errors, and loss of work productivity that could affect the wider community,” the report goes on to say.
In fact, going for too long without snoozing can leave a person as loopy as if he's been drinking. One study found after 17 hours without sleep, the ability to think, learn and perform tasks requiring movement, coordination and speed are impaired as much as they would be by a blood alcohol level of 0.05 percent. That's high enough to be charged with a DUI.
Catching more Zzz's
The simplest way to get more sleep is to go to bed earlier each day. It's also smart to keep a regular sleep schedule (go to bed and get up at the same time every night and every morning, even on weekends). To fall asleep faster, turn off those glowing screens well before bed, and try munching on bananas or other snooze-inducing bedtime snacks.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests these tips for deep, easy snoozing:
- Make your bedroom as quiet, dark and relaxing as you can. Set the thermostat so the room is neither too hot or too cold.
- Use your bed only for sleeping and sex, not for reading, watching TV, listening to music or other activities. Remove all TVs, computers and other gadgets from the bedroom.
- Don't eat large meals before bedtime.
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