It’s probably fair to say that most of us could do with more and/or better sleep. However, you might also not be aware of just how important good sleep health is. A lot of people these days treat sleep almost as a luxury and justify low amounts of it as just part of life. But, hopefully the following will be able to convince you that neither is the case.
The State of Sleep in America
In case you are one of the people we mentioned above, who could improve their sleep health, you’re far from alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that 25% of the adults they surveyed reported getting insufficient amounts/quality of sleep at least half of the last 30 nights.
This isn’t just sad, it’s downright dangerous. Sleep health is about more than just waking up and feeling rejuvenated. It’s about being able to function the next day at optimal levels. Those who benefit from good sleep have less health concerns, are more productive, feel better and experience an overall better quality of life. They’re also safer on roadways and in the workplace.
So those who aren’t getting the sleep they need could be putting themselves and others in harm’s way on a daily basis.
Sleep and Other Forms of Health
Furthermore, sleep plays a vital role in other forms of health too. It’s disheartening to think about how many people are trying to lose weight, for example, but don’t put enough focus on getting the sleep their bodies need to pull off this goal.
The same can be said for ailments like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. No matter what you do, if your body doesn’t get adequate amounts of rest, it will always suffer. Unfortunately, the effects of sleep-deprivation are hardest on those with chronic disorders or disabilities. People with kidney disease, arthritis, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, depression, and HIV have enough to worry about without their sleep health making matters much worse.
Plus, often times those who suffer from a low libido are actually losing their sex drive because of lost sleep. Obviously, no one wants to suffer this kind of side effect, but in this case, it’s also hurting someone else.
Lack of sleep rarely exists by itself. Instead, it either courts or supports other ailments.
Reasons You May Be Missing Out on Sleep
Alright, so hopefully by now you understand that you absolutely need to get a full night’s rest. This is generally between seven and eight hours for most people, but some tend to wake up naturally in the middle of their rest and then fall asleep for a few more hours.
Let’s now talk about some common reasons you may not be experiencing the best possible sleep health.
Too much caffeine is definitely a leading cause and should come as no surprise. While a daily cup of coffee may have some health benefits, if you’re drinking four or more caffeinated drinks a day, you could make up the 33% of that group who experiences sleep apnea as a result.
This disorder, often confused with snoring, occurs when your breathing is interrupted during sleep.
Stress is another common reason you’re not sleeping well. So start “powering down”, as it were, long before you turn in. Avoid things that stress you out, learn to keep work out of the home and consider meditation for calming your mind.
Lastly, another common reason is over-stimulation. Your body wasn’t meant to go from an intense action movie, to checking your email to going to bed. Part of “powering down” early means turning off the gadgets a couple hours before rest.
Don’t treat sleep any differently than you would nutrition. Without the right amount of it in sufficient quality, your health will absolutely suffer.