Are you one of more than 50 million Americans who toss and turn while staring at the clock and wondering if you will ever get to sleep? Do you envy those who fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow and stay asleep until morning? If the answer is yes, you are not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), insufficient sleep is now considered a public health epidemic, as more than a third of U.S. adults are chronically sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation is linked to motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters and medical errors. Although many of us have experienced a short fuse or a reduced ability to function after a poor night’s sleep, the long term health consequences of sleep insufficiency are greater than many of us realize.
People who experience sleep insufficiency are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, heart disease and obesity, all of which can result in a shortened lifespan. Sleep is not only important for survival, it’s essential for immune and nervous system functions and mental and physical performance. Many of us may think of a good night’s sleep as a luxury, and not a necessity, even though sleep affects both our mental and our physical wellbeing.
Science shows that we all need varied amounts of uninterrupted sleep. In general terms school-aged children require 10 hours of sleep, teens 9 – 10 hours and adults 7- 8 hours. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 30% of adults sleep less than 6 hours nightly, approximately an hour and a half less a night than we did a century ago. Sleep insufficiency may be a result of many factors, including work schedules, high stress and round- the-clock access to technology. Some sleep experts point to stress as the number one cause of occasional sleep difficulties. Actual sleep disorders such as insomnia or sleep apnea also play a role.
The body prepares itself for sleep at relatively the same time every night in conjunction with our internal clocks and the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine. Our body temperature drops as levels of melatonin, which help induce sleepiness, rise. Despite spending more than one third of our lives asleep, why we need to sleep still remains a mystery. We do know that while we sleep, the body is replenishing energy stores and repairing itself just as the brain is busy detoxifying, organizing memories, and releasing growth, reproductive and appetite regulating hormones. When we do get a full night’s sleep, we wake up feeling refreshed and fully prepared to engage in school, work, home or social activities.
Keeping a regular sleep/wake schedule, regulating the temperature in the bedroom, minimizing noise and light, getting regular exercise and avoiding large meals, alcohol and smoking late at night, can all help to combat common sleep problems.
If you are one of the millions of Americans who find sleep elusive and could benefit from a good night’s sleep, here are some of our customer’s favorite sleep support supplements:
Kavinace® by NeuroScience promotes natural sleep and reduces the symptoms of insomnia and anxiety by supporting healthy levels of GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter that calms excited nerve impulses and helps control overactive neurons that can cause anxiety.
End Fatigue Revitalizing Sleep Formula by Integrative Therapeutics promotes restful sleep and muscle relaxation with a unique herbal blend formula.
Best-Rest Formula by Pure Encapsulations supports healthy sleep cycles with time-tested calming herbs and GABA.
Somniphan by Intensive Nutrition is a safe and effective sleep aid for those who experience occasional or chronic sleeplessness or frequent night wakings.