Roughly Half Of American Adults Experience Sleep Deprivation [Survey]

According to a recent study on sleep habits in the United States, Americans are constantly failing to get enough sleep, which results in deficiencies that may have an impact on their health.
The study examined sleep data on over 9,000 Americans aged 20 and older collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2017 and March 2020. The authors referred to the study as the first to separately evaluate sleep duration between workdays and free days.

According to a research released on Tuesday in the journal JAMA Network Open, about 30% of participants had problems getting or staying asleep, and approximately 27% reported feeling extremely drowsy during the day.

The analysis also revealed that over 1 in 10 persons had a sleep debt of two hours or more, while over 30% of adults reported having an hour or less of sleep than what their bodies require.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults over the age of 18 require a full 7 hours of sleep each night to stay healthy. Obesity, heart disease, dementia, and mood disorders including anxiety and depression have all been linked to sleep debt and irregular sleep patterns.

Dr. Bhanu Prakash Kolla, a sleep medicine expert at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, stated, “This is a well-done study looking at a very big and representative population.”

Kolla, who was not engaged in the study, stated that “at least a quarter of the population complained of daytime tiredness and difficulty with sleep.”

Social lag

Additionally, almost half of the adults in the study had social jet lag, which is a mismatch between a person’s internal biological clock and the sleep schedule recommended by society.
According to Dr. Elizabeth Klerman, a professor of neurology in the division of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, “the timing of your sleep on workdays is the constraints of society and the workplace, but the timing of your sleep on free days is what your body clock really wants you to do.”

Klerman, who was not involved in the study, said that if there is a significant discrepancy between the two, “it’s like you’re living in a condition of jet lag during the work week.”

Over 46% of poll respondents claimed to have suffered social jet lag for at least an hour, while 19.3% claimed to have done so for at least two.

“It’s not unexpected that many people report that their sleep demands are not being satisfied during the week,” said sleep specialist Dr. Raj Dasgupta, a clinical associate professor of medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. He wasn’t a part of the investigation.

Insomnia, early rising or excessive sleepiness, afternoon weariness, difficulty concentrating, constipation or diarrhea, and elevated cortisol levels are just a few of the major side effects of untreated social jet lag. Additionally, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity may all be influenced by it.
An analysis of 85,000 UK residents’ sleep patterns conducted in June 2021 revealed that individuals with a disrupted sleep cycle were more likely to experience despair, anxiety, and a lack of feelings of wellness.

Kolla said that although the JAMA study did not look at whether people preferred mornings or evenings, those who prefer to stay up late are likely to suffer the most because of the inconsistency between their internal body clock and the demands of their current jobs: “These are the folk who are likely going to have more of a sleep debt and more social jet lag.”

How to sleep better

Experts advise setting your bedtime earlier than your alarm in the morning to avoid sleep deficiencies and social lag. If you need to be up at 6 a.m., you should go to bed by 11 p.m. in order to get the recommended seven hours of sleep that your body needs to rejuvenate.

Meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscular relaxation are all suggestions for rapid sleep. It’s also best to stick to the same routine on days off from work in order to maintain your internal clock functioning properly.
On work days and off days, you should attempt to maintain the same sleep and wake timings, according to Klerman. However, if you don’t get enough rest during the work week, attempt to get extra on your days off.

According to recent studies, “catch-up sleep” is beneficial. For instance, a 2020 study found that adults who slept in on their free days were less likely to have higher inflammation levels. Chronic disease is mostly attributed to inflammation.

According to a 2019 study that studied over 44,000 people for 13 years, sleeping less than 5 hours on free days was linked to a 52% higher chance of premature death in people under 65. On off-days, however, a prolonged nap of roughly 9 hours was not beneficial.

One 2017 study of Korean adults discovered that catching up on sleep on days off may help people lose weight, and another 2017 study discovered that sleeping an extra hour on days off also helped people control their blood sugar levels.
Exercise, avoiding naps, and practicing excellent sleep hygiene, such as keeping smartphones and other electronic gadgets out of the bedroom, having a warm bath, or relaxing with yoga, are further suggestions for overcoming sleep deficits.

Then, Dasgupta said, “don’t push that snooze button” when you get up in the morning. “Attempt to get out of bed as soon as your alarm goes off, especially if the weather is nice and there is a lot of morning sunshine. Melatonin production will be suppressed and the circadian rhythm will be reset as a result.

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