One of the biggest problems America faces today is our lack of sleep. As a country, we have become so busy and so stressed and as a result we have more problems trying to relax in order to go to sleep. We all need sleep and when we don’t get enough it lowers our productivity. We must identify how serious sleep deprivation is, what contributes to the problem, and steps we can do to get the sleep we so desperately need.
The National Sleep Foundation has done recent studies and surveys to look at the problem of sleep deprivation in American adults. 40% of American adults said that they felt so sleepy during the day that it interfered with their daily activities. 62% of adults said that they have driven while drowsy and 27% admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel. 100,000 crashes happen each year as a result of falling asleep while driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently reported.
Americans average fewer than 7 hours of sleep during the work week and 3 in 10 Americans sleep fewer than 6.5 hours.
Sleep deprivation is a very serious problem that can easily lead to insomnia. A person has insomnia if they regularly have difficulty trying to get to sleep or wake up during the night and have problems trying to get back to sleep. The problem causes people to become tired, moody, and upset. The Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit report that about half of the American population complains of insomnia. The causes of insomnia are stress, worries, frantic schedules, medical problems, children, poor sleep environments, and noisy or restless bedmates. The three insomnia types include transient insomnia, persistent insomnia, and chronic insomnia. Transient insomnia is an occasional night of poor sleep, persistent insomnia is a couple of times a week or several times a month of poor sleep, and chronic insomnia is when people have poor sleep every night or two weeks of poor sleep each month.
Many students that live on campus here at Eastern Connecticut State University have problems going to sleep at night because of noisy roommates, noisy next-door neighbors, or because they are so stressed they aren’t relaxed enough to go to sleep. Some students bring their pillow and blanket and sleep in lounge areas that sometimes are quieter then their room. Many students watch TV before they go to bed because it helps them get their mind off of the events of that day and to relax so that they can get a good night’s sleep.
Other tips to get a good night’s sleep include consuming less or no caffeine and to avoid alcohol and nicotine. It is also advised to drink less fluids before going to sleep and to avoid heavy meals close to bedtime. It is important to exercise regularly but to do so in the daytime. Other tips include trying a relaxing routine such as a hot bath and to establish a regular bedtime and waketime schedule. Sometimes it helps to write down the problems that you had experienced that day and some sleep problems can be treated with over-the-counter sleeping pills, prescription sleeping pills, or natural remedies. Sleep is a biological need we have just like our need for food and water; sleep is not optional.