Friday is annual World Sleep Day, and organizers hope it will again raise awareness to the importance of getting enough sleep.
This year, World Sleep Day will emphasize the importance of listening to your body’s biological clock and preserving regular circadian rhythms. Those have been found to reduce the risk of sleep disorders and other problems caused by a lack of sufficient sleep.
Entrepreneur and sleep advocate Arianna Huffington has long been advocating for better sleep
“Sleep is the underpinning of our entire well-being, necessary for us to fully recharge and be productive, creative and truly connect with ourselves and others during the day,” she said in a news release.
Sadly, most research shows Americans are not doing very well when it comes to sleep.
According to a 2016 RAND report, “Why sleep matters — the economic costs of insufficient sleep,” a lack of good sleep costs the U.S. economy up to $411 billion every year. That was 2.28 percent of the entire U.S. Gross Domestic Product.
The study also found that a lack of sufficient sleep leads to over 1.2 million lost working days per year.
But the costs of sleep deprivation don’t stop with economics. It can lead to premature death, according to RAND, which said those who sleep less than six hours a night have a 13 percent higher mortality rate than those who get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night.
According to a 2013 Gallup poll, only 59 percent of Americans get seven or more hours of sleep per night. The numbers have remained roughly the same throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Gallup said.
To put that in perspective, Americans average about 6.8 hours of sleep per night, which is more than one hour less than it was in the 1940s.
Some of the reasons for a lack of sleep include “obesity, excessive alcohol and sugary drink consumption, smoking, lack of physical activity, mental health problems, long-term health conditions, stress at work, shift work, irregular working hours, financial concerns and long commuting,” RAND said.
Several studies have shown that a lack of sleep can lead to numerous health problems, as well as cognitive deficiency.
“Not getting enough sleep is linked with many chronic diseases and conditions — such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression — that threaten our nation’s health,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Not getting enough sleep can lead to motor vehicle crashes and mistakes at work, which cause a lot of injury and disability each year. Getting enough sleep is not a luxury — it is something people need for good health. Sleep disorders can also increase a person’s risk of health problems.”