With our modern lifestyle sleep deprivation has increased dramatically over the past several years. Currently 50-70 million people suffer from sleep deprivation. Our lifestyle has been structured so that sleep is dispensable, however it is not—it is a crucial part of health. Good quality and quantity of sleep is crucial for immune function, hormonal balance, learning, focus, concentration, and mood.
Patients tell me they have too much to do to sleep but in fact the more you sleep the more productive you are when you are awake. With adequate sleep less mistakes are made and therefore less time is wasted correcting errors. Focus and concentration is much improved providing better output while working. Sleep is like money in the bank, the more you get the more secure you feel. When chronic sleep deprivation sets in, the body becomes sluggish, and metabolism slows causing weight gain and body pain.
1 out of 25 drivers fall asleep while driving even if only for a few seconds. Almost 20% of car crashes are associated with sleepiness. In 1942 the average number of sleep hours was 7.9 and by 2013 it decreased to 6.8. 20% of teenagers get less than 5 hours of sleep—no wonder why diagnoses for ADD are common today!
Lack of sleep results in daytime sleepiness and consequences of:
- Anxiety and mood disorders
- Poor working memory
- Increase in work accidents
- Impaired ability to recognize facial expressions leading to poor social interactions
Falling asleep normally takes 10-15 minutes. If you fall asleep instantly it may mean you are sleep deprived. Some sleep can be made up the next night or on the weekends however chronic sleep deprivation is difficult to replace.
Children need much more sleep due to physical growth and processing what they have taken in for the day. In the pediatric population lack of sleep results in anxiety, moodiness, attention disorders (labeled as ADD) and oppositional defiant behaviors.
Recommended hours of sleep:
- Newborn (0-9 months): 14-17 hours
- Toddler (1-3 years): 11-14 hours
- Children: 9-11 hours
- Teen: 8-10 hours
- Adults and seniors 7-9 hours
We do best having a regular sleep cycle in harmony with the circadian rhythm; down with sun and up with sun. Avoid blue light from computers, phone, and television, one hour before bed. And of course, no caffeine past 3 pm. Regular physical activity also supports sleep.
If you are having trouble with sleep after doing all the above come see us, we may be able to help restore your natural circadian rhythm and improve your quality of life.