CDC Has Officially Declared Sleep Deprivation a Health Crisis

Ever feel like you walk around feeling like a zombie after a night of four hours of sleep? Or toss and turn all night long? You’re not alone.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged 18–60 years get at least 7 hours of sleep a night to be a fully functioning human each day (a very important trait).

About one-third of adults in the US totally fail at getting a proper sleep each night, and about 80 percent of us have sleep issues at least once a week.

Sleep deprivation can lead to all sorts of health conditions—from depression to heart disease and even diabetes. And then that leads to other complications as well.

“You have other factors that are associated with diabetes, such as sleep apnea and very poor sleep quality, ” Ryan Sanders, RD at Shands Hospital at UF Health told Ivanhoe.

Poor sleep can also lead to weight gain and even obesity. It’s not in your head that when you’re tired you reach for higher sugar or calorie snacks more. It can mess with your metabolism as well.

Not only does that make you feel terrible and come with a host of health issues, but it even results in millions of people missing work per year—which results in about $400 billion in economic losses. It’s a viscous cycle.

Because of this, the CDC has officially declared sleep deprivation a public health crisis.

“As a nation we are not getting enough sleep,” said Wayne Giles, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of Population Health.

So is there anything we can do about it? Of course there is!

“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,” Giles said.

Additionally, there are a bunch of other things you can do to get a good sleep at night. Investing in blackout shades or a sleep mask can help, especially if you’re sensitive to morning light.

Also, many studies say that mindfulness meditation can also help promote a healthy amount of sleep each night, and even help you wake up feeling well rested. The National Sleep Foundation recommends a relaxing bedtime ritual and winding down before bed, so meditation is the perfect thing to do—or you could try reading, sipping tea, listening to calm music.

Lastly, it’s best to avoid heavy meals close to bedtime, which can irritate your stomach and digestion, and keep you up at night. Also avoid alcohol—while it might help put you to sleep, alcohol still affects your sleep quality (that’s why you tend to wake up more after a night out at the club.)

Did you know sleep deprivation was such an issue in this country? How often do you get your full 7-8 hours? What are your best sleep tips that you swear by to help you fall and stay asleep each night?