According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (February 2016), 1 in 3 adults in the United States do not get enough sleep. Lack of sleep was most prevalent in Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders (54%), non-Hispanic blacks (54%), multiracial non-Hispanics (54%) and American Indians/Alaska Natives (60%). Non-Hispanic whites (67%), Hispanics (66%) and Asians (63%) on the other hand, get the most sleep.
Those that are unemployed reported having lower healthy sleep (60%) than the employed (65%). Those with a college degree or higher had the highest rate of healthy sleep duration (72%).
Why are Americans so sleep deprived?
The most common factor is that most people take sleep for granted. They don’t realize how important sleep is to overall health, especially if they are at a young age. Drinking too much alcohol and caffeine prevents sounder sleep. The caffeine in coffee is a stimulant that prevents restful sleep, and although alcohol will make you drowsy, your sleep will be restless.
Another common and very familiar factor that contributes to lack of sleep is stress. Stress leads to overthinking, anxiety, and unrest, all interfering with sleeping restfully. Personal lifestyle choices, such as night shifts at work, jet lag, and eating and drinking at night play a huge role in sleep deprivation as well.
Sleep deprivation can cause many serious health issues. It may lead to cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. It takes a toll on your cognitive function as well. Lack of sleep slows down thinking and processing, leads to short and long term memory loss, and interferes with your ability to learn new things. This can negatively affect your day-to-day life. Long term sleep depletion may lead to major depression and suicide.
Get caught up on your sleep
The first step to improving healthy sleeping habits is to consult with your doctor, so you can understand your sleeping habits and why it’s affecting your health. Natural remedies are the healthiest way for a restful sleep. Foods that contain high amounts of calcium and magnesium, such as dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, and yogurt, are all sleep boosters. Lifestyle activities like yoga and meditation encourages better sleep. If you are a fan of essential oils, aromatherapy has shown to benefit sleeping habits (Lavender specifically is a popular aromatherapy option). Having an aromatherapy diffuser in your bedroom, or spritzing some on your pillow before you sleep will aid your body to sleeping more peacefully.
Popular supplements available in the market are Melatonin and Valerian. Melatonin is a hormone that aids in regulating the sleep cycle, and is widely used by millions of people. Valerian is a herb that is recommended by experts for its ability to reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. Herbs are a great natural alternative. Herbs such as Chinese peony, Mother of Pearl, Uncaria Rhynchophylla, and Corydalis Yanhusuo are what you should look out for to help with chronic insomnia. Researcher has shown that these herbs either increases blood flow to brain or have sedative functions which improve sleeping patterns.
If you are suffering from sleep deprivation, you are not alone. There are several natural and safe ways to maintaining a healthy sleeping pattern. If you take action, you can turn it around today.