BY ANDREA DOWNING PECK
DO YOU GET enough sleep? For many
people, the answer is no. Studies show ;;
percent of American adults are sleep
deprived, getting less than the seven to
nine hours a night the National Sleep
Foundation (NSF) recommends, while
nine out of ;; high school students get less
than the eight to ;; hours of rest suggested
for their age group.
“Sleep is one thing people think they
can sacri;ce, but in the long term it causes
signi;cant health problems if they don’t
get enough sleep or address sleep problems by seeing their clinician,” says neurologist Dr. Clete Kushida, medical
director of the Stanford Sleep Medicine
Center and a Costco member.
Insufficient sleep is associated with
chronic diseases and conditions such as
diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, obesity and depression,
according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (
teens, sleep deprivation also may increase
the likelihood of poor grades, drowsy driving and thoughts of suicide.
The American Academy of Sleep
aasmnet.org) classifies more
than ;; individual sleep disorders, from
insomnia and circadian rhythm disorders
to restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea.
Chronic insomnia alone is estimated to
derail the sleep of ;; million Americans.
“The great news is there are a lot of
things you can do behaviorally to promote
better sleep,” NSF environmental scholar
Natalie Dautovich explains. “Our sleep
doesn’t begin in the evening when we are
ing or stressing. Avoid strenuous exercise,
caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes or a large
meal two to three hours before bedtime.
Create a sleep-friendly bedroom. Main-
tain a temperature between ;; and ;; F,
use blackout curtains to eliminate light or
a white noise machine to block outside
noise, replace an older pillow or mattress
and remove electronics from the bedroom.
No counting sheep. After ;; minutes
of lying awake or not falling back to sleep,
move to another room and do a relaxing
activity until you feel drowsy.
While melatonin is a proven sleep
aid, the NSF recommends consulting
with a health care provider before using
the herbal remedy.
Arianna Hu;ngton, founder and former executive editor of The Huffington
Post, experienced her wake-up call on the
importance of sleep a decade ago when
she collapsed from exhaustion, breaking
her cheekbone. She wrote The Sleep
Revolution (Harmony, ;;;;; not available
at Costco) to highlight the nation’s sleep
crisis and reverse the perception that
sleep is time wasted. She currently is touring college campuses to educate students
on the value of sleep.
“The very notion of viewing all-night-
ers as a badge of honor is a symptom of our
sleep crisis and an indicator of just how
deeply the glamorization of sleep depriva-
tion is embedded in our culture,” Hu;ng-
ton wrote in an email to The Connection.
“Everywhere you turn, sleep deprivation
is celebrated, from ‘You snooze, you lose’
to highly burned-out people boasting, ‘I’ll
sleep when I’m dead.’ ”
Huffington reprioritized sleep by
establishing a bedtime routine, learning
to silence her mind over never-;nished
to-do lists and exiling her smartphone
from the bedroom.
“Even when we’re not actually con-
necting digitally, we’re in a constant state
of heightened anticipation,” she explains.
“Always being in this state doesn’t exactly
put us in the right frame of mind to wind
down when it’s time to sleep.”
Kushida suggests seeing a physician
or sleep specialist if di;culty sleeping or
staying asleep persists more than a week,
you notice unusual behaviors during sleep
such as loud snoring or excessive move-
ments, or you are sleepy during the day. C
Andrea Downing Peck is a freelance writer
from Bainbridge Island, Washington.
getting into bed. Our activities during the
day can set us up for a good night’s sleep.”
The NSF provides the following tips
for better sleep.
Stick to a schedule. Maintain a constant bedtime and awakening time, even
on weekends. To help manage circadian
rhythms, expose yourself to sunlight or
other bright light in the morning and
avoid bright lights in the evening.
Wind down. An hour before bedtime,
dim lights; set aside blue-light-producing
digital devices, such as desktops, laptops,
tablets and cellphones, which can a;ect
sleep patterns; and stop working, study-
Get your zzz’s
The National Sleep Foundation
these sleep amounts:
; Toddlers ( 1–2 years): 11 to 14 hours
; Preschoolers ( 3–5): 10 to 13 hours
; School-age children ( 6–13):
9 to 11 hours
; Teenagers ( 14–17): 8 to 10 hours
; Younger adults ( 18–25): 7 to 9 hours
; Adults ( 26–64): 7 to 9 hours
; Adults (65 plus): 7 to 8 hours
FOR YOUR HEALTH
Skipping sleep can
Costco and Costco.com carry sleep aids,
mattresses, pillows, curtains and more.