In the list of healthy habits we should adopt — things like exercising, eating right and getting enough sleep — the sleep habit seems like an easy one to get into. But it turns out that's not the case for everyone. More than one-third of adults in the U.S. aren't getting enough Zs, according to the Centers for Disease Control (and a quick poll of In the Loop staff). And skimping on sleep can have serious health consequences.
"If you don't snooze, you lose," says Eric Olson, M.D., a pulmonologist and sleep medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic. He tells our friends at Mayo Clinic News Network that sleep deprivation can contribute to a host of health issues. The list includes fatigue and moodiness in the short term, and more serious problems — like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure — in the long term. (Talk about a nightmare.)
Sleep deprivation affects kids, too. And not just in the ways you're probably imaging right now. "Children who don't get enough sleep don't grow and develop as they should," Alva Roche Green, M.D. tells the Mayo Clinic News Network. Dr. Green, a Mayo Clinic family medicine physician, says problems can include "developmental delays in growth and mental capability."
Whether you're young or just young at heart, you can avoid these problems by getting enough shuteye. For kids, that amount varies by age. Infants need up to 17 hours of sleep a day, teenagers from 8 to 10 hours. Kids in between need anywhere from nine to 14 hours of sleep. Adults should aim for at least 7 hours each night.
If you're falling short of that number, mayoclinic.org offers tips to get more sleep:
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