One in three American adults, about 35 percent, aren’t getting enough sleep, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. According to the report, the study is the first to document estimates of self-reported healthy sleep duration, which is considered seven hours or more daily, for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Adults 18-60 should sleep at least seven hours each night as recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society. Sleeping at least the minimum promotes optional health and well-being, according to the two groups. Getting less sleep than the recommended seven hours could lead to increased risk of developing chronic health problems such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and frequent mental distress.
Director of the CDC’s Division of Population Health, Dr. Wayne Giles, suggests lifestyle changes such as going to bed at the same nightly, waking up at the same time daily, and turning off electronics such as televisions, computers and mobile devices, or removing them, as ways to get the healthy sleep needed.
According to data reviewed by the CDC from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (a state-based random telephone survey), key findings included healthy sleep duration was lower among native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, non-Hispanic blacks, multiracial non-Hispanics and American Indians/Alaskan natives. These findings were compared to studies on non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics and Asians.
A lower proportion of adults in the southeastern United States and Appalachian Mountains reported receiving less than seven hours daily. The report shows that previous studies have shown that these regions also have the highest prevalence of obesity and other chronic health conditions.
Unemployed adults and those not able to work reported they had lower healthy sleep duration than those who were employed; and sleep duration was higher among married adults than those who were unmarried, divorced, widowed or separated.
The study offered the following tips to receive healthier sleep: discuss sleep patterns and sleep-related problems such as snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness with healthcare providers; education from healthcare providers about the importance of sleep as related to personal health; making getting the recommended sleep duration a priority and practicing good sleep habits; and for employers, consider modifying work schedules to allow employees to get healthy amounts of sleep and educating shift workers on improving sleep.
For more information about the CDC program, go to cdc.gov/sleep.