Many people assume that not getting enough sleep results in feeling fatigued the next day. They don’t link lack of sleep to serious health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. It may seem surprising that lack of sleep could cause health issues but it is common knowledge in the medical community. According to Harvard research people who experience a consistent lack of sleep are known to have an increased chance of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity.
Adults need to achieve 7 hours of sleep each night. Having an occasional night here or there that is less than 7 hours is OK. An issue arises when under seven hours is the norm. Consistent lack of sleep is considered sleep deprivation. Health issues are observed over time when adults are regularly under the 7 hour minimum recommendation.
In addition, Americans report other serious issues related to lack of sleep including:
- Poor mood
- Decreased libido
- Increased appetite
- Decreased immunity resulting in more frequently being sick.
- Falling asleep at inappropriate times which is often embarrassing and can negatively impact employment.
- Increased risk of car accidents due to reduced reaction time.
- Increase risk of work accidents resulting in an increased risk of injury or fatality.
Why are Americans not getting enough sleep? There are many reasons. Some people sacrifice sleep to put in more hours at the office. Others have family situations, such as being a single parent, that makes it difficult to get everything accomplished in the day. They cut out sleep to keep up with the demands of life. Many people struggle to get enough sleep even though they attempt to dedicate the right amount of hours to sleeping. They aren’t comfortable and can’t fall asleep. Or they wake up throughout the night because their mattress is not right for them. Some people don’t realize they need a new mattress. Signs that it would be beneficial include:
- Current mattress is more than 5-7 years old.
- Current mattress is not the proper firmness to support your spine. If you wake up achy in the morning this is an indication you are not being properly supported.
- Tossing and turning instead of falling asleep. Many people struggle to find a comfortable sleeping position because their mattress is not appropriate.
One simple way to improve your health and quality of life is to increase the amount of sleep you get each night. First, evaluate your current sleep situation. Record when you go to bed and when you wake up for a week or so and determine how many hours you get each night on average. Record if you wake up throughout the night. If you sleep less than 7 hours or have frequently interrupted sleep consider taking the following steps to allow extra sleep.
- Adjust your schedule so you are allowing yourself the appropriate amount of time in bed.
- Develop a calming down routine before bedtime so you can fall asleep more easily. Suggestions including reading a book or listening to music in a dark place. Avoid TV, caffeine and alcohol.
- Make sure your room is an appropriate temperature for sleeping.
- Purchase a new mattress that will be more comfortable.
Many people do not make sleep a priority. They see it as an inconvenience instead. However, if you want to live a long, healthy life you need to make sure you are allowing your body the proper amount of rest each night. If an uncomfortable mattress is getting in the way of a good nights sleep contact us. We can help you select the perfect mattress so you can get a full 7 hours of sleep and wake up refreshed.