From Dr. Mercola:
In 1942, 59 percent of Americans were getting eight hours of sleep – or more – each night. Fast-forward to 2013 and that percentage had dropped to 34 percent. Further, the number sleeping a dangerously low numbers of hours each night – five or less – increased from just 3 percent in 1942 to 14 percent in 2013.1
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has even warned that insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic linked to increases in motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters and medical and other occupational errors.
They also pointed out that people experiencing sleep insufficiency are more likely to suffer from “chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity.”2
Many Americans in Denial Over the Importance of Healthy Sleep…
Here’s an interesting point to consider: a survey by the Better Sleep Council revealed half of Americans say they don’t get enough sleep. Yet, less than half of them take any specific action to help them sleep better.3
Perhaps that’s because 45 percent of men also reported believing it’s possible to train yourself to need less sleep. I used to believe this too… but it’s a myth. Your body requires adequate sleep – about eight hours a night or so – and there’s no way of “fooling” it or getting around this basic need.
Further, many seemed reluctant to acknowledge the extreme health risks of insufficient sleep. Less than 30 percent of adults strongly agreed that lack of sleep contributes to memory loss, heart disease, strokes, and diabetes, for instance.
And when Americans wake up sleepy, which happens quite often, close to one-third rely on coffee or other caffeinated beverages as a way to get through the day. But, again, your body won’t be fooled.
Disruptions to sleep tend to cascade outward throughout your entire body. For example, during sleep your brain cells shrink by about 60 percent, which allows for more efficient waste removal.4
Sleep is also intricately tied to important hormone levels, including melatonin, production of which is disturbed by lack of sleep. This is extremely problematic, as melatonin inhibits the proliferation of a wide range of cancer cell types, as well as triggers cancer cell apoptosis (self-destruction).
Lack of sleep also decreases levels of your fat-regulating hormone leptin while increasing the hunger hormone ghrelin. The resulting increase in hunger and appetite can easily lead to overeating and weight gain.
Separate research also found that when participants cut their sleep from 7.5 to 6.5 hours a night there were increases in activity in genes associated with inflammation, immune excitability, diabetes, cancer risk, and stress.5 Poor or insufficient sleep was even found to be the strongest predictor for pain in adults over 50.6
Top 5 Natural Sleep Aids
If you’re having trouble sleeping, please don’t ignore it. Taking steps to get the proper sleep you need will make your life more…