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According to a recent survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), 85% of U.S. adults do not get the recommended seven hours or more of sleep every night. After a challenging and stressful year, the New Year provides Americans with the opportunity to refocus on the importance of making healthy sleep a priority.
“Our survey findings show a worrying trend of national sleep deprivation,” said AASM president Dr. Kannan Ramar. “Insufficient sleep contributes to the risk for several of today’s public health epidemics, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. As such, it is critical that we incorporate healthy sleep habits and routines into our daily lives to be our best in 2021.”
Why should we make healthy sleep a New Year’s resolution?
The AASM recommends that adults sleep at least seven hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being. In the same survey, slightly more than one-third (34%) of Americans said they sleep for seven or more hours only two nights – or fewer – each week, in line with findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Regularly sleeping less than seven hours per day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and frequent mental distress.
Resolve to make 365 days of healthy sleep your goal for 2021 by keeping in mind its extensive benefits:
What is inhibiting us from achieving the recommended seven hours of sleep?
Despite evidence showing the importance of adequate sleep, it often can take a back seat to other behaviors we find important. According to the AASM’s July 2020 survey, a vast majority (68%) of U.S. adults lose sleep due to drinking alcohol past bedtime. Americans also report staying up past their bedtime to binge-watch a TV show or stream a video series (88%), read a book (66%), watch a sporting event (58%) and play video games (50%).
How has the pandemic impacted sleep?
With a change in daily routines, the COVID-19 pandemic is also disrupting sleep for Americans. According to the AASM survey, one in five Americans (22%) are sleeping worse due to the pandemic, and 19% are getting less nightly sleep.
“Despite the fact that many Americans are no longer commuting to and from work, it is paramount to establish and maintain morning and bedtime rituals, such as getting up and going to bed at regular times to achieve adequate sleep,” added Ramar.
For PDFs of the AASM’s 2019 and 2020 Sleep Prioritization Survey results, please visit aasm.org/about/newsroom/.
For more information on the importance of healthy sleep, visit SleepEducation.org.
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