We spend around a third of our lives asleep, and if you don’t, the other two-thirds can become miserable. Cultivate healthy sleeping habits to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.
If you have grown fearful of watching the minutes tick by on your bedside alarm clock while tossing and turning, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that nearly half of all adults don’t sleep enough, or sleep poorly, says the National Sleep Foundation in the USA.
The result? More than 37% of adults under the age of 65 had nodded off unintentionally at least once during the day in the month before one study conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). And if you haven’t slept at all in 24 hours, you’ll have the same cognitive and physical impairment as someone who is legally drunk.
To function well, the average adult needs 8.2 hours of sleep in 24 hours, but sleep deprivation occurs with as little as two hours less sleep than usual per night. Sleep is the body and mind’s chance to recuperate. Without that rest time, cognition and performance are affected, and symptoms like impoverished speech, impaired memory and planning and inflexible thinking appear. We lose the ability to focus and can’t process environmental sensory input correctly.
Emotions also suffer because the sleep-deprived brain may not be as capable of detecting positive emotions as a more relaxed one. We then become irritable, moody and apathetic.
And there are significant health risks to not getting enough shut-eye regularly. In adults, these risks include high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. Getting enough sleep is especially important for children and teens. Sleep is an essential part of healthy growth and development. It also helps improve learning, while a lack of sleep can cause a child to become sad or depressed, or to misbehave.