5 Things You Didn’t Know About America’s Sleeping Habits
Urgh. Stop reading this and take a damn siesta.
Sleeping is really, really important.
1. Sleeping is a HUGE problem in the United States. It’s so bad that roughly 30% of American workers sleep less than six hours a night, according to NSF.
Not getting enough sleep can lead to a whole bunch of problems. Here’s why: Sleeping keeps our brains healthy, according to Charles A. Czeisler’s report in the Journal of the National Sleep Foundation.
Without a proper night’s rest, you’ll eat more and your memory and cognitive functions will become impaired. And you’ll even have a higher chance of contracting some serious illnesses, like Alzheimer’s disease and even some cancers.
2. It’s even worse for people who work the night shift: Around 44% of American night-shift workers are sleep-deprived.
This is why the World Health Organization has labeled night-shift work as a possible carcinogen.
3. Approximately 7.5 million Americans fall asleep at the wheel each month.
Unfortunately, this leads to about 6,400 deaths per year, writes Czeisler. That’s a huge number, considering we talk much less about drowsy drivers than we do about drunk drivers. The numbers are not that different: Around 10,000 people die because of drunk drivers per year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
4. About 64% of Americans who experience chronic pain also suffer from sleep deprivation, according to the 2015 poll by NSF.
And we’re not talking about The Machinist-like crazy all-nighters. The participants were sleep-deprived by only about 40 minutes, which means they slept 6.7 hours instead of 7.3 hours. That may not seem like a lot of time, but it makes a huge difference.
In fact, Czeisler writes that after just one week of sleep deprivation, your body has a harder time resisting infection, you’ll become moody, and your glucose tolerance will decrease (which can lead to diabetes).
5. Healthy people sleep approximately 18–23 minutes longer than those who experience chronic pain.
Kristen Knutson, Sleep in America poll scholar, told BuzzFeed over email, though, “This poll could not address the direction of effect.” Knutson does mention, however, that getting 15–30 minutes more sleep per night could make a difference in how you feel.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, check out these sleeping hacks to help you get a good night’s rest.