Although sleep experts recommend adults get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, American adults are now averaging 6 hours per night. It is estimated that one in three Americans don’t get enough ZZZs. Are you one of them?
Many people think sleep is just for resting at the end of their busy day. They justify less sleep by saying: “I feel fine.” However, sleeping is as important as any other activities a person does during the day. When we sleep, our immune system is activated to hunt and kill viruses, bacteria and even cancer cells.
Our brain reviews all the information taken in during wake hours, then sorts and files it in an organized way to build memory. Psychological stability is also an important function of sleep. With sufficient sleep hours, a person wakes refreshed, with the mental and physical energy needed for a new day.
Dr. Dennis Hwang and Physician Assistant Cindy Gulley, national behavioral sleep medicine experts at Kaiser Permanente’s world-renowned San Bernardino County Sleep Center, stress that sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss can put you at an increased risk of physical and mental conditions, which can affect your overall health. Dr. Hwang advises that sleeping for 7 hours to 8 hours a night is best for maintaining a healthy level of metabolism among adults.
Dr. Hwang offers the following answers to frequently asked questions about the importance of sleep:
but we are very attached to our devices and constant flow of information. Research has found that exposure to “blue-white” light suppresses your body’s production of melatonin. Without sufficient melatonin it is difficult to fall and stay asleep. Blocking blue light with special glasses, and turning down blue light on devices, can really help.
Wait until you are sleepy to go to bed. The bedroom should be dark, cool, and quiet to optimize the quality of sleep. Avoid checking the time during the night, it causes anxiety. Use an alarm to wake. Morning sunlight is important to be wakeful and energetic in the day.
The facts are clear: getting a good night’s sleep is critically important to everyone’s good health.
If you’re in need of sleep therapy, or want more information about a Kaiser Permanente sleep center, please visit www.kp.org. We want you to Sleep Well, Sleep Enough, Be Well and Thrive!