According to a new study, Americans are struggling to get a good night’s sleep. The study was the first of its kind to separately analyze sleep habits on working days and holidays. It looked at the sleep patterns collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between March 2017 and 2020 of over 9,000 Americans who were 20 years and above.
The results of the study published in the journal JAMA Network Open found that almost 30 percent of the respondents had trouble falling asleep or having continuous sleep and around 27 percent were tired and sleepy during the daytime. It also pointed out that almost 30 percent of them slept for one hour less than the total sleep time that was required by their body. One in ten adults had two hours or more of sleep debt.
According To A Survey Roughly Half Of American Adults Experience Sleep Deprivation
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people above 18 years of age need at least 7 hours of healthy sleep at night. Irregular sleep patterns, sleep debt or shorter sleep cycles can cause a variety of health disorders like dementia, depression, heart problems, anxiety, obesity, etc.
Dr.Bhanu Prakash Kolla, sleep medicine specialist at the Center for Sleep Medicine at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota who was not involved in the study said that the study represented a very large representative group. He added that almost a quarter of the US population complained about sleep difficulties and daytime sleepiness.
Almost half of the respondents who were part of the study complained of “social jet lag”, a condition where the duration of sleep dictated by the biological clock is different from that of the one programmed by society and time standards.
Dr.Elizabeth Klerman, Professor of neurology in the division of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, said that during working days, our sleep patterns are often affected by job stress and societal expectations.
But the sleep that we get on our free days is the actual sleep pattern that our body wants us to follow. She pointed out that if there is a considerable difference between these two sleep timings then there is a high chance that you are living in a state of jet lag during the working week. She was not part of the study.
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In the survey, 46 percent of people reported a social jet lag of around one hour and 19.3 percent experienced 2 hours.
Experts say that social jet lag if left untreated can create a lot of health issues including excessive sleepiness, insomnia, daytime fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, and an elevated cortisol level. This can also lead to obesity, heart disease, and Type II diabetes.
Dr.Raj Dasgupta, Clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine said that the reason for irregular sleep patterns lies in the stressful work weeks and busy weekend activities. DasGupta was not part of the study.
Experts suggest that in order to overcome the social jet lag caused by work schedules, we have to start back timing our bedtime. So if we have to wake up around 7 in the morning then it’s always better to go to sleep by 12 so that we can complete a solid 7 hours of sleep.
Also, calming techniques like meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and deep breathing can also help us to slip into a peaceful sleep, and it’s also advisable to keep the same sleeping cycle through weekends also.
A 2019 study that followed the sleep patterns of 44,000 people for a period of 13 years found that people who are under 65 who tend to sleep under 5 hours even on free days were prone to 52 percent higher premature deaths, however, longer sleep durations of about 9 hours had lesser risk.
🟢Cleveland Clinic (n.d) Sleep Deprivation (Available On):https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/23970-sleep-deprivation
🟢National Library Of Medicine (n.d) Sleep Deprivation (Available On):https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547676/
With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.