Did you know that about a third of US adults report getting less than the recommended amount of sleep regularly1? Consistent lack of sleep (less than 7 hours of sleep per night) has been linked to an increased risk of certain medical conditions. Understanding how a lack of sleep affects you can help you try to improve your quality of sleep.
How much sleep do you need?
The amount of sleep you need changes as you age. Adults, ages 18 years and older, should get anywhere between 7-9 hours of sleep per night on a regular basis2. Research has found that people who do not get enough sleep have an increased risk of being involved in motor vehicle accidents, making mistakes at work, and having decreased levels of concentration. Lack of sleep has also been linked to an increased likelihood of diseases and conditions such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and depression.
Medication side effects, sleep disorders, and other conditions such as thyroid disorder or depression may cause you to feel tired or sleepy during the day. If you feel tired or sleepy during the day despite getting the recommended amount of sleep per night, should reach out to your healthcare provider for further evaluation.
What can you do to improve your quality of sleep?
Engaging in good sleep habits can help with a good night’s sleep. Habits that can help improve sleep health include:
- Prioritize sleep. Prioritizing your schedule to ensure you get enough sleep is important. Set a schedule where you go to bed at the same time each night and wake up around the same time each morning, including on the weekends and when you are on vacation.
- Set your environment. Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, clutter-free and relaxing. Keep your thermostat at a temperature that is comfortable.
- Avoid electronics. Avoid watching TV, looking at a screen including phones and computers, at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Stay active. Regular exercise can help you fall asleep easier at night.
- Avoid heavy meals, alcohol and caffeine before bedtime. Caffeine and alcohol intake close to bedtime can disrupt your quality of sleep.
1. CDC – Sleep Home Page – Sleep and Sleep Disorders
2. Recommended Amount of Sleep for a Healthy Adult: A Joint Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society | Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (aasm.org)
3. Daylight Saving Time Health Advisory – AASM Recommendation
4. Does improving sleep lead to better mental health? A protocol for a meta-analytic review of randomised controlled trials (nih.gov)
5. Sleep FAQs – Sleep Education by the AASM
6. Are You Getting Enough Sleep? (cdc.gov)
7. CDC – Sleep and Chronic Disease – Sleep and Sleep Disorders
8. Thyroid Dysfunction and Sleep Disorders (nih.gov)