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Officials Say Lack Of Sleep Is Dangerous To Your Health

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Sleep is a hot topic these days and we're finding out how much Americans are not getting.

Honestly, how much sleep do you get a night? Missing out on those precious hours can take a toll on your productivity and your health. Here are some eye-opening statistics about the sleep you're not getting.

You've heard your mother say you need more sleep, and many people have listened, but many others haven't. According to a new survey, Americans, even the ones who are most sleep-deprived, aren't doing anything about it. The Centers for Disease Control is calling not getting enough sleep "a public health epidemic."

The survey shows those who don't sleep enough are more likely to be depressed, overweight and less productive, and many simply don't look as good when they're not getting enough sleep. Officials with the Better Sleep Council said nearly half the people in America said they're not getting enough sleep, but fewer than half of them take specific action to get that needed rest.

Officials said that could be because many people simply don't believe a lack of sleep is that bad for you. About 45 percent of men, for example, said that people can learn to live with less sleep. The Better Sleep Council said that's a myth. About 80 percent of Americans said they get stressed or have trouble concentrating when they're sleepy, but fewer than half of them believe a lack of sleep can contribute to memory problems, heart problems or diabetes.

So how much sleep do we actually need?

Officials said for children, it's about 10 to 11 hours per night. Teenagers should aim for at least eight hours per night, and adults should try to get between seven and nine hours.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the promotion of regular sleep is known as sleep hygiene. Here's a few tips to help you improve your sleep:

  • Keep a routine: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
  • Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, dark and relaxing environment that isn't too hot or cold.
  • Use your bed for sleeping and not for activities like reading, watching TV or listening to music.
  • Remove all TVs, computers, and other gadgets from the bedroom.
  • And avoid large meals before bedtime.
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