We’ve all been there for one reason or another: staying out late, catching up on work, or checking on the sleeping (or not sleeping) kiddos. With so many responsibilities, sleep often fails to become a priority. However, not getting adequate sleep can hinder your ability to get things done, undermine other efforts to be healthy, and even negatively impact your health.
Short-term issues may include:
- Lack of alertness
- Impaired memory
- Relationship stress due to moodiness
- Quality of life
- Greater likelihood for car accidents
Long-term effects can be more serious. Health problems that have been associated with chronic sleep deprivation include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, depression, and obesity. It can also lead to premature wrinkling, dark circles under the eyes, and an increase of stress hormones.
Doctors recommend 7-9 hours of sleep for most adults, 8-10 hours for teenagers, and 9-11 hours for school-age children. That being said, quality of sleep is just as important as quantity. In an experiment with TODAY news anchor Savannah Guthrie, eight hours of sleep filled with the interruptions of a ringing cell phone, crying baby, and snoring partner resulted in only four hours of true sleep.
While you can’t always control these interruptions, there are habits you can form to encourage better sleep. The following articles provide tips for you and your family on how to improve sleep patterns. This in turn will increase your health, happiness, and productivity.