Are you suffering from insufficient sleep and putting your health at risk? If you’re like many, the answer is probably, yes. In fact, more than 30 percent of Washington adults report insufficient sleep (defined as less than seven hours of sleep daily), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationwide, one-third of U.S. adults report that they usually get less than the recommended amount of sleep, the CDC noted.
Unfortunately, a lack of sleep can result in much more than dark under-eye circles and money spent on that extra shot of espresso. Research shows that consistently not getting enough sleep is linked to an increased risk for several chronic diseases and conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, obesity, and depression. Not to mention the fact that sleepiness can contribute to motor vehicle crashes, mistakes at work, and machinery-related injuries.
“Sleep is really the only time that our bodies have a chance to recollect and repair. With adequate sleep, your body encodes the new information that is taken in the previous day; restores or fortifies your immune function, leading to decrease in illness vulnerability; and repairs your body tissues if you’ve happened to work out the previous day,” said Justin Ho, a physical therapist at Lake Washington Physical Therapy Houghton, an outpatient orthopedic physical therapy clinic in Kirkland.
Getting enough shut eye is not only extremely important for adults, but also children. As noted by John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, studies have shown that children who regularly get adequate sleep have improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health.
“Absolutely true that most of us are not getting enough healthy, restorative sleep — especially kids. ‘Sleep hygiene’ is a whole new field study where every aspect of your sleep environment, sleep schedule, and practices are evaluated,” said Mike Schaefer, owner and president of Soaring Heart, a local manufacturer of all-organic mattresses and bedding that has showrooms in Bellevue and Seattle.
The causes of inadequate sleep vary, but common factors include nighttime use of media devices like smartphones, inconsistent sleep schedules, sleep disorders like sleep apnea, work schedules, and some medications and medical conditions.
“I believe one of the larger misconceptions that many people carry is that if you develop a sleep debt (sleep less than ideal hours), you can make the time up with naps or sleeping more another day to catch up. Truth of the matter is no matter the hack, a consistent schedule of seven to nine hours of sleep at night is unmatched in terms of health benefits. Short naps can be helpful to increase performance,
Get a Better Bed
As noted by the National Sleep Foundation, having comfortable bedding is a significant factor in proper sleep health. If you’re one of the millions suffering from insufficient sleep, consider checking out these innovations:
BRYTE, which has a storefront in Bellevue, has developed its new BRYTE bed. The innovative bed leverages artificial intelligence technology to actually learn and improve your sleep night after night. It crafts a personalized sleep environment by measuring sleep quality; integrating user feedback; and then learning, adjusting, and customizing the ideal sleep environment — including temperature, localized body support, and light.
Duxiana, which relocated to the Bellevue Design Market, offers its DUX Bed. A direct result of more than 90 years of science, research, and testing, the DUX Bed is designed to help ease pressure on your back, keep your spine in line, and distribute your weight evenly to maximize circulation.
Tuft & Needle in Seattle offers an assortment of bedding, including the T&N Pillow, which is one of its best-selling products and a customer favorite. It also offers the T&N Original Mattress and Mint Mattress, which delivers 30 percent more graphite for even cooler sleep and 30 percent more gel beads for a cradling, supportive feel.
Tips to get better sleep
The good news: You’re not powerless. As outlined by the CDC and the National Sleep Foundation,
habits that can improve your sleep health include:
- Turn off electronics before bed. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 48 percent of American adults report using a device like a computer, tablet, or smartphone in bed before trying to go to sleep.
- Go to bed at the same time each night, and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends.
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.
- Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.