Lack of sleep has become a public health issue in the United States, approximately a third of the American adults failing to enjoy the recommended amount of rest.
This was the conclusion of an extensive investigation carried out by federal health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Researchers reviewed questionnaire answers submitted by 444,306 adults across the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
The purpose was to identify prevalent sleeping patterns nowadays, based on the premise that those aged between 18 and 60 should have at least 7 hours of rest per night, unless they want their health to be significantly perturbed.
From the data they aggregated and analyzed, researchers deduced that lack of sleep has taken pandemic proportions, given that it affects 1 in 3 of all the adults across the nation, while just 65.2% of the country’s adult population still enjoys replenishing rest.
People living in the Plains states (Kansas, Missouri, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska etc.) are more likely to sleep at least 7 hours every night, and South Dakota has the highest percentage of individuals who get the prescribed amount of shut-eye (71.6%).
In sharp contrast, people from the Deep South (Georgia and Alabama, especially) are much more susceptible to sleeping too little, while Hawaiian residents have been determined to be the most sleep-deprived across the entire nation, just 56.1% of them resting sufficiently enough.
Aside from these geographical disparities, study authors also identified other differences in sleep patterns associated with the individual’s marital status. Allegedly, being married is associated with much healthier resting habits, 67% of those who have spouses reporting that they get to sleep for at least 7 hours every night.
By contrast, just 62% of those who’ve never walked down the aisle get to benefit from healthy amounts of rest, and slightly more than a half (56%) of those who are widowed, separated or divorced can say the same.
Education also proved to be a decisive factor when it came to the participants’ likelihood of being sleep deprived. Namely, the highest percentage of people getting at least 7 hours of sleep was encountered among college grads, 72% of them declaring that they had this healthy routine.
When taking into account racial peculiarities, it appears that Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians are the most affected by insufficient sleep, only 54% of them resting for a minimum of 7 hours every night.
In opposition, whites who aren’t of Hispanic ethnicity tend to be the most well-rested, 67% saying that they get the advisable dose of nightly sleep.
As researchers explain, investigating how common lack of sleep has become across the United States is a matter of great importance nowadays.
That’s because sleep deprivation has been linked to numerous ailments, affecting the metabolic system (type 2 diabetes, obesity), the cardiovascular system (heart problems, stroke, atherosclerosis), and the cognitive system (low productivity, trouble focusing, difficulty memorizing new information etc.).
In addition, lack of sleep has also been correlated with psychiatric issues, because it tends to exacerbate anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
As explained by Wayne Giles, affiliated with CDC’s Division of Population Health, there are solutions for this public health problem after all, such as avoiding to use electronic devices before catching some Z’s or fixing one’s sleeping schedule, so that the same exact patterns are followed every day.
More details regarding sleeping trends across the United States can be found in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the CDC on Friday, February 19.
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