We all know how important sleep is, but in recent years, insufficient sleep in the United States has become a health epidemic. According to a 2014 Gallup poll, the average American getting an average of only 6.8 hours a night, when they should getting 7-9 hours. There are numerous reasons why more Americans are sleeping less, including that people lead busier lives, have numerous technological advancements, are burdened with distractions, and might have poor mattresses.
The average American has become busier in recent years, which takes a toll on sleeping patterns. Helene A. Emsellem, MD, medical director of the Center for Sleep & Wake Disorders in Chevy Chase, Md., says she “see[s] more people trying to cram more into a 24-hour day more aggressively than they did 20 to 25 years ago.” To wind down from a busy day, try developing some consistent sleeping patters to get yourself into a more regular sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time each night and wake the same time each morning. Also try to avoid consuming alcohol and caffeine, and avoid large meals before bedtime.
Technology has become such an everyday part of our lives, but it can really hurt us in the hours leading up to bedtime. Americans in previous years didn’t have numerous sources for entertainment like cell phones, computers and tablets to distract from sleep. Phyllis C. Zee, MD, PhD, a neurology professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and director of its Sleep Disorders Center in Chicago stated, “With artificial lighting, we’ve been able to fool our brain and internal clocks that it’s still daylight and remain alert.” Try putting your phone down at least an hour before bedtime, giving your body some time to wind down before going to sleep.
Additionally, your mattress could also be affecting your sleep. The average mattress replacement is 9.5 years, but the Better Sleep Council suggests every 7 years. If you fall into this category and are getting an insufficient night’s rest, our friendly staff at Beautyrest Sleep Gallery would love to help you find a new mattress. After all, we do spend most of our lives sleeping!
If you have any questions about how to better your sleeping habits, or the importance of purchasing a new mattress, ask away!