Are you getting enough sleep at night? With today’s nonstop, 24-hour lifestyle, it’s not uncommon for adults to get less than the recommended eight hours of sleep each night (Thanks technology!). According to a recent CBS News report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that sleep deprivation affects more than 40 million people in the United States, nearly 30 percent of the working force.
It’s long been known that adequate sleep contributes to improved memory retention and a heightened sense of alertness, but you may not realize that there are serious health risks associated with lack of sleep.
Sleep deprivation affects the body in many ways, and if you suffer from other health problems—such as arthritis, kidney disease, or depression—it can make these conditions worse. Prolonged sleep deprivation increases your chances of having:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
Additionally, inadequate sleep affects the body’s ability to fight off infection and illness, so if you’re starting to feel the effects of a flu, perhaps it’s a good idea to “hit the hay” a little early for some extra shuteye.
How Much Sleep Do I Need?
The recommended amount of sleep varies for each person, so it’s a good idea to consult a doctor or other medical professional about how much sleep you should be getting each night. In general, age plays an important role in how much sleep you need. The National Sleep Foundation offers some guidelines for typical sleep needs by age:
- 10-11 hours for children between the ages of 5 and 10
- 8.5-9 hours for teens between the ages of 10 and 17
- 7-9 hours for adults (18 or older)
Getting Through Sleep Deprivation
Sometimes, it’s just not possible to get a full night’s sleep. But there are some things you can do to minimize the effects of short-term sleep deprivation. Take short naps throughout the day, if possible, and avoid drinking excessive amounts of caffeine and sugar, whether from coffee, energy drinks, or sodas. Instead, energize yourself by taking a short jog around the block or going to the gym for a quick workout—exercising will kickstart endorphin production, which will help you through the sluggish drag from sleep deprivation.
But don’t make sleep deprivation a habit—getting enough sleep each night will improve the quality of your life immensely! So log out of Facebook, turn off the TV, and silence your phone already. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you in the morning.