Chances are that you aren’t. Experts suggest that about half of all adult Americans suffer from some degree of insomnia and about one-third suffer from life-disrupting insomnia.
Getting short-changed on your sleep occasionally isn’t a serious problem, but when it happens night after night, you build up a back-log of needed sleep. This sleep debt can contribute to problems like:
- Irritability and depression
- Reduced immune function
- Accidents and injuries
- Excess weight
The average person needs about eight and one-half hours of sleep each night. Some need a little less and some a little more, but you need that sleep every day, just like you need water, food, and oxygen. If you lose just one hour of sleep per day (seven hours instead of eight, for instance) you build up a sleep debt of seven hours in just one week.
Your body tries to make up for this by compressing the stages of sleep that are less important to gain more hours of the sleep that is important, but that can’t go on indefinitely without it impacting your health in a negative way.
Lack of sleep also affects your mood and your performance. It makes it harder for you to concentrate, which means you’re not as productive at work. Sleep debt can make you irritable or depressed and otherwise affect your mood. You even age more quickly when you don’t get enough sleep.
Sleep debt not only makes you more prone to catching an infection, it also makes you more susceptible to serious diseases like heart disease and strokes.
Another major problem with sleep debt is that it causes you to be more accident-prone. About 100,000 automobile accidents occur due to sleep deprivation every year resulting in 1500 deaths and about $12.5 billion dollars in damages.
Whether you’re having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or even just sleeping soundly, there are natural remedies that can help. We’ll be talking about herbs and nutrients that aid sleep, as well as techniques you can use to help you fall asleep and sleep soundly through the night in this month’s Sunshine Sharing Hour.