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People need to stop worrying about getting a perfect eight hours of sleep, experts say

0 6 months ago

More than a third of Americans do not get the recommended eight hours of sleep

Experts suggest that Americans stop worrying about getting a perfect eight hours of sleep and warn that stressing about the magic number may actually result in a drop in sleep quality and duration.

Dr. Reena Mehra, a director of sleep-disorders research at the Cleveland Clinic, told The Wall Street Journal that consciously focusing on falling asleep may impede the process.

“It works against the individual,” she said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than a third of Americans do not achieve the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

One paper looking into the ideal amount of sleep found that “Sleep duration recommendations issued by public health authorities are important for surveillance and help to inform the population of interventions, policies, and healthy sleep behaviors. However, the ideal amount of sleep required each night can vary between different individuals due to genetic factors and other reasons, and it is important to adapt our recommendations on a case-by-case basis.”

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Furthermore, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American Heart Association (AHA) have concluded that a lack of sleep can correspond with higher rates of heart attack, stroke and a host of other diseases.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine clinical associate professor of neurology and psychology Dr. Shelby Harris said patterns and routines are more important than the magic eight-hour number.

However, she stressed that people do not need to be so rigid that they can no longer sleep at all if they have to break from their routine to work late or deal with a restless child.

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