"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

What is the magic sleep number?

Bill Clinton (former president). Tracy Morgan (comedian). Cindy Lynn Baldwin (motorized vehicle driver). What do these seemingly unrelated people have in common? The answer is that everybody either suffered from sleep deprivation or suffered from someone who was sleep deprived.

There is little doubt that each one of us have had too little sleep in some unspecified time in the future in our lives. For a few of us, it's an isolated episode triggered by a selected event, corresponding to a death within the family or an upcoming stressful meeting. However, there may be growing evidence that America is becoming a nation of chronically sleep-deprived residents.

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the speed of adults getting lower than 6 hours of sleep has increased by 31 percent since 1985. This can have multiple explanations. These include the increasing demands of a 24-hour society, increased use of artificial light, changing lifestyles encouraging late-night activities, and widespread use of electronic devices corresponding to tablets, laptop computers, and smartphones. Included. The latter are particularly bad for sleep health because they emit blue wavelength light, which negatively affects your body's natural sleep-wake cycle and interferes with sleep onset.

Adverse effects of lack of sleep on health

Inadequate sleep has essential consequences. On a person level, sleep deprivation makes another irritable and depressed, slows response times, and negatively affects mental and physical performance. In fact, being awake for 18 hours straight has the identical negative effect on response time as being legally drunk! (The driver of the truck that hit Tracy Morgan's automotive was awake for 28 hours.)

In addition, adequate sleep is important for optimal learning and memory. Experiments have shown that staying up all night hinders the educational of recent information. So, the proverbial “all-nighter” that a few of us practiced after we were in class probably hurt our test performance reasonably than helping it.

Chronic lack of sleep also corrects a tool. Per week and a half of 6 hours of sleep per night can have the identical effect as being awake for twenty-four hours. And just as essential because the behavioral consequences of insufficient sleep are its negative health effects. It's now becoming increasingly clear that lack of sleep is a risk factor for hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and — not surprisingly — premature death. In addition, insufficient sleep alters the degrees of hormones that control appetite, and this increases appetite and increases the tendency to realize weight. Thus, lack of sleep is a risk factor for obesity!

At least 7 hours of ZZZs an evening

Because insufficient sleep, each acute and chronic, is detrimental to health, the CDC's Healthy People 2020 campaign features a goal to cut back sleep deprivation. However, the goal doesn't specify how much sleep is required. To address this shortcoming, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, two leading skilled organizations within the fields of sleep medicine and research, issued a joint consensus statement.

Based on current evidence, adults should get at the very least 7 hours of sleep an evening for optimal health, and that getting lower than 6 hours of sleep is related to poorer health outcomes. At the identical time, there may be insufficient evidence to find out whether getting between 6 and seven hours of sleep an evening is bad for health. An identical paper from the National Sleep Foundation reached largely the identical conclusion.

So, is 7 hours the magic sleep number? Probably. Future research may result in some refinements, but for now, this needs to be the goal.

Can you make up for just a few days of sleep deprivation? The answer is just not straightforward. Many people get insufficient sleep during work days after which attempt to make up for lost sleep on the weekend. In such cases, after “restorative” sleep, there is frequently an improvement in mood, in addition to mental and physical performance. However, with the ability to reverse the results of insufficient sleep on physical health is less certain. Recent observations suggest that sleep deprivation may cause persistent negative effects on heart rate and the discharge of assorted inflammatory molecules. These could be risk aspects for heart disease.

The treatment is straightforward.

What could be done about lack of sleep? The solution is straightforward: Get more sleep. On a private level, this implies making higher lifestyle selections – for instance, selecting to go to bed earlier within the evening reasonably than staying up late watching television. For organizations and employers, this implies making a work environment that values ​​the useful outcomes of employees who should not sleep-deprived: namely, fewer worker sick days, higher productivity, and lower medical health insurance advantages. Usage

Although a prescription for more sleep could seem inexpensive without requiring expensive medications, the private and logistical hurdles could be overwhelming. Even so, a goal of at the very least 7 hours of sleep per night is achievable. If enough individuals, businesses and organizations prioritize sleep on an equal footing with good nutrition and well-being, our society can be healthier and more productive—goals all of us value.