In 2013, about 30 percent of Americans said they slept six hours or less at night, but that number increased to 33 percent by 2017, according to findings published online in the journal Sleep. Sleep experts recommend that most adults get 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep each night.
The University of Southern California in Los Angeles researchers said many factors could account of lack of sleep. Some people are troubled by economic insecurity. Some feel they are working longer and harder for less. There is also a growing stress level associated with our increasingly connected world. People are glued to their cellphones, reading news and Twitter and Facebook, and seeing world, national and local troubles delivered right to devices in their hands. In addition, people are staying up binge watching TV or movies on tablets and cell phones.
Hispanic and black Americans showed the largest increases in inadequate sleep. The number of black study participants who said they slept less than six hours rose from 35 percent in 2004 to 42 percent in 2016. Among Hispanics, it went from 26 percent to 33 percent during that time period.
Among white people, those reporting short sleep increased from 29 percent to 31 percent over the same time. By 2017, a 10 percent difference existed between blacks and whites.
Not getting enough sleep is tied to increased risk for obesity, decreased mental functioning, dementia, heart disease and diabetes. In addition, getting too little sleep can increase the risk for car crashes, accidents at work and troubled relationships.
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