We all know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep, but in recent years, the average amount of sleep we get has been steadily decreasing. In both men and women, the average amount of sleep has dropped from 7-8 hours a night to 6-7 hours.
While this might not seem like a big difference to some, it makes a huge difference to your body. During the day, your body is working hard to keep up with your day and it requires the appropriate amount of time to rest, recover, and recharge to do it all over again.
Most people think that not getting a good night’s sleep simply means you’ll be a little tired the next day, maybe a little foggy. It’s nothing that a cup of coffee can’t fix, right? Coffee does help, but loading yourself up with caffeine is a band-aid solution and not a permanent fix.
Health and Lack of Sleep
A lack of sleep is also a factor in some of the most serious health problems in people and can be a trigger for illness and disease. Studies have found that people who have a shortened sleep, which is defined by less than 6 hours are at an increased risk of heart disease.
In 2011, the European Heart Journal’s review of 15 medical studies involving almost 475,000 people found that people with shortened sleep cycles had a 48% increased risk of developing or dying from coronary heart disease.They also found that these people were also at a 15% greater risk of developing or dying from stroke.
Interestingly enough, the study also found that long sleepers, or people who average nine or more hours a night, also showed a 38% risk increase in developing or dying from coronary heart disease and a 65% increased risk of stroke. With sleep, as with most things, balance is the most important thing.
Another similar study found that a lack of sleep predicted higher blood pressure. For most people, the body uses the time you are asleep to lower blood pressure, and with a shorter amount of sleep there may not be enough time for this dip to take place.
The world we live in today doesn’t make it any easier for us to get a good night’s sleep. People are reporting higher levels of stress caused by things like work, current events, family situations, and other factors that didn’t affect past generations. We are also using more and more technology that affects our sleep cycles without us even realizing it.
There are many sleep aids that can be purchased but they are artificial and may even cause dependency with some people. As always, Mother Nature has provided us with a natural solution to this ever increasing problem.