CDC Survey Finds 1 in 3 Adults Don't Get Enough Sleep
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CDC Survey Finds 1 in 3 Adults Don't Get Enough Sleep

February 18, 2016

Are you getting the recommended seven hours of sleep per night? If not, you're not alone. According to a new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one third of Americans need more Zzzs.

The report, printed in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, is the first study to document estimates of self-reported healthy sleep duration for all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least seven hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being. Sleeping less than seven hours per day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress.

Sleep duration seems to vary widely among geography and different demographic groups. For example, only 54 percent of Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, non-Hispanic blacks, multiracial non-Hispanics get the recommended seven hours of sleep at night. On the other hand, 67 percent of Non-Hispanic whites get the recommended amount of sleep.

People who live in the Southeast and Appalachian Mountains report getting less sleep. Previous studies have shown that these regions also have the highest prevalence of obesity and other chronic conditions.

Those who are married, employed, and have a college degree get more sleep than those who are unmarried, unemployed, and have a lower education level.

"As a nation we are not getting enough sleep," Wayne Giles, director of CDC's Division of Population Health, said in a written statement. "Lifestyle changes such as going to bed at the same time each night; rising at the same time each morning; and turning off or removing televisions, computers, mobile devices from the bedroom, can help people get the healthy sleep they need."

Sleep Tips

  • Take an hour before bed to wind down by doing something relaxing, like reading a book. Avoid using electronic devices as studies have shown that the light stimulates the brain rather than relaxes it.
  • Avoid big meals and caffeine before bed. Caffeine should be self-explanatory and large meals can often cause ingestion that can make it hard to sleep. A light snack 45 minutes before bed is OK.
  • It might seem counterintuitive, but daily exercise is very helpful for getting a good night's sleep.
  • Consider the age of your mattress and pillows and decide if they need replacing. Both can affect your quality of sleep as they age. Your bedroom should be dark, quiet and kept at a cool temperature (60 to 67 degrees).