What Do Most American’s Spend 1/3 of Their Life Doing?

January 11, 2012

Health Promotion

If only we all slept this good!

What do most Americans spend 1/3 of their life doing? The answer is sleep.  That is an incredible amount of time spent wasted if the sleep you are getting is ineffective.  A large majority of Americans (47 million) are sleep deprived.  One identifying factor is “sleep machismo” in which sleep is considered an expendable luxury rather than a biologic need.  Other factors include obstructive sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and insomnia.  On average, Americans are sleeping 6.8 hours per night, as reported in 2005 (National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America poll).  Of the more than 30% of Americans who report sleep complaints, nearly half report chronic insomnia.

You may be thinking; “So what! I can’t remember the last time I got a good night sleep.”   However, sleep plays an important role in learning, memory, and reasoning.  Insufficient quantity or quality of sleep leads not only to short-term neurocognitive dysfunction but also to permanent changes to the central nervous system.

Over- the-counter sleep remedies include diphenhydramine (Benadryl) as the active ingredient.  Benadryl is initially sedating but quickly produce tolerance and their longer half-lives allow accumulation to lead to daytime negative consequences described by patients as “hangover” effect.   Ironically, attempting to treat a sleep disorder may lead to damaging effects on cognition and daytime functioning.  For this reason, it has become increasingly important for medical professionals to be able to correctly recognize and appropriately treat sleep disorders in their patients to maximize cognitive function and brain health.

If you are getting less than 6 hours of restful sleep talk to your health care provider.  It might be the best thing you have ever done for your sleepy self.

, , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: