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Are you getting enough sleep?


Photo Credit: Ana Sofia Guerreirinho

Derived From: Natural News
Original Author: J. D. Heyes

When it gets to be early- to mid-afternoon, are you sitting at your desk at work or school yawning? Do you sometimes reach for a coffee or other caffeinated drink after lunch just to keep yourself going? And does this happen often?

You may be one of a growing number of Americans who aren’t getting enough sleep every day, and if so, that could very well lead to some long-term health problems down the road.

According to federal researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of Americans say they don’t get enough sleep, and that is putting them at higher risk of developing heart disease, becoming obese and contracting other chronic health issues.

Also, as reported by NBC News:

The findings also suggest that more Americans need to learn healthy sleep habits — like going to bed at regular times and turning off televisions and other electronic devices, the team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Poverty may play a role

“As a nation we are not getting enough sleep,” said Dr. Wayne Giles, director of CDC’s Division of Population Health. “Lifestyle changes such as going to bed at the same time each night; rising at the same time each morning; and turning off or removing televisions, computers, mobile devices from the bedroom, can help people get the healthy sleep they need.”

CDC researchers examined health surveys that involved more than 400,000 Americans who were asked, in part, how many hours of sleep they were getting each night. On average, only 65 percent said they got seven hours or more of sleep per night, the researchers found.

“Sleeping less than seven 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 research team said in a recent weekly report from the CDC.

The results appear to be regional as well. For instance, the researchers found that residents of Hawaii tend to be more active [or restless] at night, with only 56 percent saying they got the requisite number of hours of sleep or more per night. Meanwhile, residents of South Dakota were much more well-rested, with 72 percent saying they got plenty of sleep.

The results varied demographically as well; just about half of blacks say they get enough sleep, compared with two-thirds of whites and Hispanics.

In addition, getting enough sleep may also be tied to economic conditions, the researchers found.

On average, Americans in the Southeast and Appalachian regions reported getting the least amount of sleep.

How employers can help

“Previous studies have shown that these regions also have the highest prevalence of obesity and other chronic conditions,” the CDC team said.

“People who reported they were unable to work or were unemployed had lower healthy sleep duration (51 percent and 60 percent, respectively) than did employed respondents (65 percent). The prevalence of healthy sleep duration was highest among people with a college degree or higher (72 percent).”

The CDC team suggested that doctors and other primary care providers should be asking their patients about the level of sleep they are getting, since a lack of sleep may have poor health implications. Also, changes at job sites might be appropriate, the team recommended.

“Employers can consider adjusting work schedules to allow their workers time to get enough sleep,” the CDC said. “Employers can also educate their shift workers about how to improve their sleep.”

Past research has found that artificial lights in computer and television screens are a well-documented cause of insomnia.

The CDC says that there is no real proven sleep aid, but despite that some 9 million Americans rely on Big Pharma, saying they take a pill to help them sleep.

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