Experts reveal the price we pay for not sleeping

Experts reveal the price we pay for not sleeping

Sleep deprivation is an epidemic in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Health Interview Survey shows that: “Nearly 30% of adults reported an average of ≤6 hours of sleep per day in 2005-2007. In 2009, only 31% of high school students reported getting at least 8 hours of sleep on an average school night.”

For children, sleep deprivation can lead to behavior problems, trouble focusing and learning in school and it can affect their immune systems,” said Dr. Aneesa Das, a sleep medicine specialist at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center. “Chronic tiredness makes it harder to cope and process what’s going on around you.”

When children become teenagers, sleep becomes a bigger problem.

A teenager’s internal clock tells them to stay up longer and sleep later than children or adults.

Das says that only 15 percent of teens get an adequate amount of sleep.

Sleep is time the body uses to restore itself. Muscles and other tissues repair themselves, hormones that control growth, development and appetite are released. Energy is restored and memories are solidified, so we need to try to get regular sleep on a regular basis,” Das said.

For adults, sleep loss is a bigger issue yet. The effects are shown to build up over the years, and contribute to chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and obesity.

Lack of sleep also lowers resistance to infection and viruses.

Sleep disorders, including sleep apnea or insomnia are also more likely during adulthood.

During menopause, women experience night sweats and insomnia because of the changing of hormones.

When men age, the prostate can enlarge, causing frequent trips to the bathroom in the night.

Some medications can also affect sleep, like those for irregular heartbeat, hypertension, and asthma.

Adult sleep gets more fragmented, or interrupted during the night,” Das said. “This could be caused by a medical condition, caring for young children, light and noise disturbance, pets or just the stress of the day.”

Here are the recommended hours of sleep we should get throughout our lifetime, according to the National Sleep Foundation:

Infants: up to 16 hours total, including naps

Toddlers (1-3 yrs): 12-14 hours, including naps

Preschool (3-5 yrs): 11-13 hours, most do not nap after age 5

School-age (5-12 yrs): 10-11 hours

Teens: 8.5-9.5 hours

Adults: 7-9 hours

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.


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1. “From Age 8 to 80, Ohio State Expert Reveals the Price We Pay for Not Sleeping.” Wexler Medical Center. Ohio State University, 28 Oct. 2014. Web. 07 Nov. 2014.

2. “Insufficient Sleep Is a Public Health Epidemic.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 Jan. 2014. Web. 07 Nov. 2014.

3. “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?National Sleep Foundation. National Sleep Foundation, n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2014.

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