Importance of Sleep
One should not underestimate the importance of sleep. Medical studies have associated a lack of sleep with health problems and cognitive impairment. When you don’t get enough sleep, it can be difficult to focus, pay attention, or respond quickly. A lack of sleep may cause mood problems. And growing evidence shows that a chronic lack of sleep can increase your risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and infections. This is why experts typically recommend 7 to 8 hours of sleep for adults.
What Most Americans Get
How much sleep are you getting?
Americans lead busy lives. The demands of work and the responsibilities that come with raising a family all take their toll on the hours we have left for sleep, so it makes sense that young adults and parents are more sleep deprived, while senior citizens tend to be well-rested. One survey reported that half of all people 18 to 49 years of age thought they would feel better if they got more sleep.
The facts are, nearly 30% of all American adults get less than 7 hours of sleep a night and a number of people get only 5 hours of sleep or less. This represents a shift in sleep patterns of Americans since the 1940s. In 1942, 84% of adults were getting the recommended amount of 7 or more hours of sleep a night. Recent data indicate that only 59% of adults achieve that threshold.