Sleep, like food and water, is essential for life. Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions — such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression — which threaten the nation’s health.
State Department of Health Public Health Educator Lenard Allen, MA, said insufficient sleep is associated with the onset of these diseases and also poses important implications for their management and outcome.
“Moreover, insufficient sleep is responsible for motor vehicle and machinery-related crashes, causing substantial injury and disability. In short, drowsy driving can be as dangerous — and preventable — as driving while intoxicated,” Allen noted in a recent statement, citing pertinent research. “The CDC reports that for 2008-2009, 24.2 percent of Hawaii adults reported not getting enough sleep, with the greatest numbers found in Oahu and Hawaii County. Sufficient sleep is not a luxury — it is a necessity — and should be thought of as a ‘vital sign’ of good health.”
Sleep guidelines from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute call for newborns to get between 16 and 18 hours a day; preschool-aged children, 11-12 hours a day; school-aged children, at least 10 hours a day; teens, 9-10 hours a day, and adults, including the elderly, between seven and nine hours a day.
“Sleep Hygiene Tips” from the National Sleep Foundation include the following: Go to bed at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning; make sure your bedroom is a quiet, dark and relaxing environment, not too hot or too cold; and avoid large meals and drinking alcohol before bedtime.
“Remember: Sleep is not a luxury; it’s a necessity for your good health,” Allen said.