Sleep Deprivation And The Price We Pay

Sleeping inThe United States is considered a sleep-deprived nation and according to researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center all ages are suffering in various, unhealthy ways.

For children, sleep becomes a bigger issue when they enter the teen years only 15 percent of teenagers get the recommended sleep they need. Researchers say this is due to a teens circadian rhythm or internal body clock that tells them to stay awake later and sleep later than children and adults.

For adults, sleep loss accumulates over the years and has been shown to contribute to several chronic diseases diabetes, depression, obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure. And sleep-related disorders such as insomnia or sleep apnea are more likely.

And as men age, an enlarged prostate can lead to more frequent bathroom visits and sleep can be disrupted by certain medications such as those for asthma, heart arrhythmia and high blood pressure.

For women, they often experience night sweats and insomnia during menopause due to changing levels of hormones.

Sleep is time the body uses to restore itself, says sleep medicine specialist Dr. Aneesa Das of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. Muscles and other tissues repair themselves, hormones that control growth, development and appetite are released. Energy is restored and memories are solidified, so we need to try to get regular sleep on a regular basis.

For children, sleep deprivation can lead to behavior problems, trouble focusing and learning in school and it can affect their immune systems, Das continued. Chronic tiredness makes it harder to cope and process whats going on around you. Adult sleep gets more fragmented, or interrupted during the night, Das said. This could be caused by a medical condition, caring for young children, light and noise disturbance, pets or just the stress of the day.

Recommended Hours Of Sleep

So how many hours of sleep should we get at night? Heres a recommended breakdown issued by the National Sleep Foundation:

  • Infants - up to 16 hours including naps

  • Toddlers one to three years old - 12 to 14 hours including naps

  • Preschool three to five years - 11 to 13 hours

  • School-age five to 12 years old - 10 to 11 hours

  • Teens eight-and-a-half to nine-and-a-half hours

  • Adults seven to nine hours

Tips To Get A Good Nights Sleep

  • Have a wind-down routine that includes dim light

  • Beware of sleep aid medications that can have side effects

  • Do not perform vigorous exercise within four hours of bedtime

  • Take a warm bath two hours before bedtime

  • Avoid using phones, tablets and laptops before bed because they emit a blue light that interferes with sleep

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