The Gallup research (1) made in 2013 showed that Americans are getting less hours of sleep these days than seventy years ago. In 1942, Americans used to get 7.9 hours of sleep on average, which was 1.1 hours more than in 2013. Although sleep deprivation is present, Americans think that they are getting enough of it. This is a result of the social pressure, which values hard work and wealth over health and overall well-being.
At some point, there are short sleepers who can easily get over with a 5 or 6 hour sleep (2). However, there are only a few of those whose DNA has been set to get over with fewer than 7 hours of sleep. The rest of the people get themselves onto sleep deprivation train that is set to drive them to poor health and well-being.
Consequences of insomnia
It is said that two out of ten Americans suffer from sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, REM sleep behavior disorder or narcolepsy. So what happens if you do not get enough sleep? The list gets long and quite complicated (3):
- 13 % of children and 5 % of adults become obese because of lack of sleep
- 75 % of people get depressed if they experience sleep deprivation
- 20 % of car crashes are associated with sleepy drivers
- 82 % of college students insists that their performance is linked to sleep
- 35 % of people who take sleeping pills are more likely to get cancer
The studies show that people between ages of 25 and 54 fall into a group of those who suffer from sleep deprivation the most. While many of them have different reasons of why they get less sleep than they should, 20% of people indicate that pain is one of the main reasons for their sleep issues.
According to National Sleep Foundation (4), pain is one of the key factors of why people are not getting enough sleep. Unfortunately, pain brings in stress and poor health to the overall well-being of a person. It has been calculated that 45% of people with acute pain experience quality sleep in contrast to 37% of those who are in chronic pain.
Four steps to reduce insomnia
Pain creates a vicious cycle; it triggers poor sleep, increases anxiety, creates stress. However, there is hope how one can get out of this vicious cycle:
- Reduce pain triggers. This can be done by finding a comfortable pillow, which would bring relief for your neck and would stop your back from hurting;
- Start living a healthier lifestyle. This can be done by reducing caffeine and alcohol consumption, choosing foods that make body comfortable;
- Practicing relaxation. This can be done by including meditation into one’s daily routine;
- Reducing electronic waves. This can be done by getting off the electronic devices several hours before sleep and making sure they are not in the same room while one sleeps.
If everyone who has issues getting asleep would commit to these little steps to change the current situation, increased quality of sleep would contribute to one’s anxiety and stress levels, would reduce headache, would help quicker to get asleep and improve the whole well-being.