Sleep deprivation affects nearly half of American adults, according to research

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Americans are failing in their constant quest for adequate sleep, leading to deficiencies that can affect their health, according to a new study on sleep habits. in the united states

The study, which the authors called the first to separately assess sleep duration between work days and non-work days, analyzed sleep data. More than 9,000 Americans aged 20 and over were surveyed between 2017 and March 2020 by the Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Nearly 30 percent of respondents had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, and about 27 percent were very sleepy during the day, according to the study, published Tuesday in the journal JAMA Network Open.

According to the analysis, more than 30% of adults had an hour of sleep debt — when you sleep less than your body needs — with nearly 1 in 10 adults having a sleep debt of two hours or more.

Adults over the age of 18 should get at least 7 hours of sleep a night to stay healthy, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sleep debt, along with irregular sleep duration, has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, dementia and mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.

“This is a well-done study looking at a very large and representative sample,” said Dr. Bhanu Prakash Kolla, a sleep medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Sleep Medicine in Rochester.

“At least a quarter of the population reported daytime sleepiness and difficulty sleeping,” said Kolla, who was not involved in the study.

In addition, nearly half of the adults in the study reported social jet lag, a misalignment between the sleep time preferred by a person’s internal biological clock and that prescribed by society.

“Sleep time on weekdays is a social and work constraint, but sleep time on days off is what your body clock really wants,” said Dr. Elizabeth Klerman, professor of neurology. in sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

If you have a big gap between the two, “it’s like you’re living in a state of jet lag during the work week,” said Klerman, who was not involved in the study.

More than 46% of survey participants experienced at least one hour of social jet lag, and 19.3% experienced at least 2 hours.

“With hectic work schedules and weekend activities, it’s no surprise that many people report not meeting their sleep needs during the week,” said Dr. Raj Dasgupta, a sleep specialist and clinical associate professor of medicine at the University. Keck School of Medicine of Southern California. He did not participate in the study.

Untreated social jet lag can have serious consequences, including insomnia, early awakening or excessive sleepiness, daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating, constipation or diarrhea, and elevated cortisol levels. It can also play a role in the development of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

A June 2021 study looked at the sleep habits of 85,000 people in the UK and found that people with disrupted sleep cycles were more likely to experience depression, anxiety and a lower sense of well-being.

Although the JAMA study looked at whether people preferred mornings or evenings, it’s the “night owls” who prefer to stay up late who will suffer the most, Kolla said: “They’re the ones who are likely to get more sleep. debt and more social jet lag, the internal clock and as a result of this discrepancy between the current work requirements.’

To overcome sleep deprivation and social retardation, experts recommend pushing back bedtime from your morning alarm. If you have to get up at 6am, you’d better sleep by 11 p.m., to get the recommended seven hours needed to refresh your body.

Tips to help you fall asleep quickly include meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation. Then, to keep your internal clock working properly, it’s best to keep the same schedule on non-working days.

“You should try to have the same amount of sleep and wake time on work days and non-work days,” Klerman said. “But if you’re not getting enough sleep during the work week, you should try to get more on your days off.”

Research in recent years is finding it helpful to “catch up on sleep,” he said: “For example, a 2020 study found that adults who slept on their days off were less likely to show higher levels of inflammation.” Inflammation is a major driver of chronic disease.

A 2019 study that followed nearly 44,000 people for 13 years found that those under the age of 65 were associated with a 52% higher chance of getting less than 5 hours of sleep on days off. death rate. However, on days when sleep was not longer than about 9 hours.

A 2017 study of Korean adults found that sleeping on days off may be linked to lower weight, and another 2017 study found that sleeping more hours on non-work days helped control blood sugar.

Other tips to combat sleep deprivation include exercising, avoiding napping and practicing good sleep hygiene, such as avoiding coffee in the evening and alcohol at night, keeping phones and other electronic devices out of the bedroom, and taking a warm bath or relaxing with yoga.

Then, when you get up in the morning, “don’t hit that snooze button,” Dasgupta said. “Try your best to get out of bed when the alarm goes off and try to get outside; especially if the weather is good and there is a lot of sun in the morning. This will allow melatonin to be removed and that circadian rhythm to be restored.”