Getting Too Little Sleep Can Have Major Health Implications as You Get Older
Our busy schedules often inhibit our ability to get a sufficient amount of sleep. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that insufficient sleep had become a public health issue in the United States. For those who insist on placing social, academic and professional obligations as a higher priority, what are the health issues that you may face down the line?
Sleep is important due to its regulatory functions of repairing your body, and a good sleep regimen can contribute to better cognition – memory, reception and recollection after a newly-learned task – the following day. Therefore, sleep deficiency can only be detrimental. Short-term issues include poor decision-making, lack of focus and carelessness. In the long term, sleep deprivation has been linked to chronic issues like heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and even strokes.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal number of hours of sleep needed per night depends on your age. Newborn babies, for example, should – and usually do – get 12 to 17 hours of sleep per night.
As we grow older, we require fewer hours. The NSF recommends that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep per night, but note that they can squeak by with six without a significant difference other than the morning struggle of dragging yourself out of bed after repeated snoozes on your alarm.
Ironically, by the time we're at retirement age (i.e., without a daily 9-to-5 grind), the recommended hours of sleep becomes less: seven to eight, with a leeway of five to six hours. But with all that free time, why would anyone get out of bed?