Are You Getting Enough Sleep? Probably Not

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The Centers for Disease Control reports one out of every three adults in the United States doesn’t get enough sleep. Enough sleep, according to most doctors for adults, is at least seven hours.

“For some people it’s a little more and for some people it’s a little less,” Dr. Corinthia McLeroy of Encompass Medical Group in Dallas said. “As a general rule though, most adults need about seven hours of sleep a night.”

In the latest, annual Sleep in America poll, 65% of the adults who reported not sleeping well, also reported experiencing depression, showing the more serious side of not getting enough rest.

“When people are sleep deprived or they have sleep deficit, they’re having numerous sleepless nights. When that starts to happen, you can experience lack of focus, impaired concentration, some people’s metabolism is affected and some people even experience obesity. Also, your immune system can suffer. Then you must worry about your cardiovascular health. Not getting enough sleep for a prolonged period could contribute to the development of heart disease in some people,” Dr. McLeroy said.

But is it possible to catch up on sleep? Dr. McLeroy said there is a chance you could find some relief in something as simple as a 20-minute nap.

“It really can help recharge the body. Something else that can help, drinking plenty of water and laying off the alcohol also helps when your sleep pattern is suffering,” Dr. McLeroy.

The snooze button is also NOT your friend. Doctors say that while it may seem like the 10 extra minutes could help, it’s still considered fragmented sleep and not productive sleep. It could leave you feeling even more groggy.

Then there is the matter of sleep separations or sleep divorce. Many couples complain that sleeping together is the reason why they are losing sleep. Whether one snores too loud or one has a shift that requires them to be awake at odd hours, it can be taxing on the other partner’s sleep. Dr. McLeroy said before you move out of your bedroom, maybe you should look at if this is a more serious issue.

“If you are in a relationship and your significant other is snoring or they are up all night, I would recommend that might be something that needs to be addressed. Maybe go and see your primary care physician and talk about overall health. Loud snoring or even strange breathing patterns could be indicative of something more serious that may need to be diagnosed,” Dr. McLeroy said.

March 13-17 is Sleep Awareness Week announced by the National Sleep Foundation. It serves as a call to action for the public to recognize sleep is a crucial part of health and well-being.

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