We all love a good night’s sleep, but did you know that most Americans aren’t getting enough sleep? In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls insufficient sleep in the U.S. a “public health problem.”
Unfortunately, stress is often the culprit of poor sleep, and can affect concentration, memory, driving and work performance.
How Much Sleep Do We Need? And How Much Sleep Are We Getting?
How much sleep we need varies between individuals but generally changes as we age. The National Institutes of Health suggests that school-age children need at least 10 hours of sleep daily, teens need 9-10 hours, and adults need 7-8 hours. According to data from the National Health Interview Survey, nearly 30% of adults reported an average of ≤6 hours of sleep per day in 2005-2007. In 2009, only 31% of high school students reported getting at least 8 hours of sleep on an average school night.
Sleep Hygiene Tips
The promotion of good sleep habits and regular sleep is known as sleep hygiene. The following sleep hygiene tips can be used to improve sleep.
- Go to bed at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning.
- Avoid large meals before bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime.
- Avoid nicotine.
(Sleep Hygiene Tips adapted from the National Sleep Foundation)
Because March is Sleep Awareness Month, if stress and a lack of sleep are affecting your life, please contact a medical professional.
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