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Sleepless in America

Learn the importance of getting enough sleep.

woman sitting at desk yawning

You may know exercise and diet are important for your health. But sleep is just as crucial, no matter what your age.

Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep a night. Yet it’s estimated that one in three Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. sleep. If you are among them, you may know the effects of a sleepless night: feeling sluggish or irritable, anxious or moody. For some, lack of sleep causes forgetfulness, and makes it hard to focus and make decisions. And that’s just in the short-term.

People who don’t get enough sleep for long periods of time face greater risk of mental health problems, a stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity and even early death.

Lack of sleep can also put others in danger - especially on the road, where sleepy drivers may be less able to focus, and more likely to nod off behind the wheel. It’s estimated that drowsy driving causes up to 6,000 fatal car crashes each year.

It’s estimated as many as 70 million U.S. adults may have sleep or wakefulness conditions.

If you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, check with your doctor to rule out a possible disorder like sleep apnea. (Snoring may be a sign.)

Tips for better sleep:

  • Go to bed/rise the same times each day.
  • Follow a relaxing bedtime routine
  • Create a dark, quiet sleep environment.
  • Avoid alcohol/caffeine close to bedtime.
  • Stay away from blue light during the two hours leading up to bedtime.

By Lisa Stein, Contributing Editor

Drowsy driving: Asleep at the wheel. Accessed August 31, 2021.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Are you getting enough sleep? Accessed: August 31, 2021.
Sleep Foundation. Sleep deprivation. Accessed August 31, 2021.

Last Updated: October 1, 2021