By Dr. Jack Singer
I have had countless teenage clients over the years who get only 5 or 6 hours of sleep on school nights, primarily because their parents put so much emphasis on their grades and encourage their youngsters to stay up as late as necessary to conduct homework or study.
And… I have had countless adults who developed sleep deprivation during their school years and have continued this habit into adulthood. Some of these people stay up late at night working, but many of them fall victim to the our current technology, which entices us to put off bedtime with computer games, chat rooms or surfing the web.
Why am I discussing this issue in the first place? Because there is now burgeoning research that shows that losing as little as one hour of sleep a night can have serious, long term effects on your health!
A quarter of our teens get no more than six and a half hours of sleep, and their brains and bodies require nine hours. Furthermore, a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health study in 2012 found that 41 million workers get less than five hours of sleep a night, and experts recommend seven to nine hours for working adults.
Driver fatigue results in 100,000 auto crashes annually. That relationship between sleep deprivation and accidents is obvious. But less obvious and more dangerous is the fact that not getting the proper amount of sleep leads to problems metabolizing glucose, insulin resistance, inflammation problems, and it even can negatively affect the immune system.
New research dramatically shows that even cutting sleep by one or two hours a night can lead to obesity, improper glucose metabolism and high blood pressure. In short, insufficient sleep can promote diabetes and chronic blood pressure issues, both of which can cut years off your life and lead to a myriad of additional medical problems. In addition, other studies show that too little sleep negatively affects mood and promotes inflammation, which also underlies many chronic physical disorders.
Now that we know how widespread and devastating are the effects of cutting hours off your sleep schedule, what can you do to avoid this problem? The good news is that, except for insomniacs, we all have control over how many hours we sleep. It means making a deal with yourself to avoid the late night movie or talk show on tv, avoiding the tempting game on the computer and certainly avoiding caffeine, especially late at night.
The effects of sleep deprivation are devastating, but the symptoms are silent for many years, so, like silent blood pressure issues, we tend to ignore the problem.
About the Author:
Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.
Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem. To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.