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Researchers at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered that more “than a third of Americans say they are not getting enough sleep,” NBC News reported.
According to the CDC’s weekly report, “Sleeping less than seven hours per night is associated with increased risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, frequent mental distress, and all-cause mortality” (ibid.).
Human beings need sleep—it is crucial for physical, mental and emotional health. This need varies depending on age: adults require seven to eight hours, teenagers need nine to 10 hours, and school-age children require at least 10 hours of sleep per day.
Not getting ample rest can affect whether one can think clearly, reduce one’s ability to react to matters that need focus and attention, and diminish the body’s ability to produce hormones. Regular rest allows the body to repair cells, fight infections, and build muscle mass. Sleep deprivation increases stress levels and reduces the body’s capacity to stave off illness.
Sleep deprivation can manifest itself in lack of focus, which can affect job performance; moodiness and irritability, which can rupture personal relationships; and high blood pressure and heart disease.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends sticking to a consistent sleep schedule and avoiding caffeine, nicotine, exercise, or consuming large meals or alcohol before going to bed. The government agency also suggested finding a way to relax before sleeping (such as taking a hot bath), going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, and removing or turning off gadgets that produce noises or bright light (such as televisions, computers and cellphones).
Doctors suggest seeking medical advice if you are having trouble sleeping.