New Study on Sleep Limits the Hours Needed

Friday, July 31, 2015
Getting Enough Sleep is Part of a Healthy Lifestyle New Study Suggests (photo by LivligaHome)

So many of us struggle to get enough sleep. A new study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has actually lowered the recommended hours we need to sleep to seven. Looked in one way, it doesn't seem like much of a change-- it is a drop of a mere hour--from eight to seven. But from my perspective I find it encouraging! Now I only need to figure out how to sleep two more hours a night instead of three.

All joking aside, chronic sleep deprivation is a big problem in the United States. A lack of sleep has been found to confound and exacerbate a whole host of other diseases like obesity, hypertension, high blood pressure, and diabetes, to name a few.

Surprisingly, this study "is the very first time the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society have put together a [recommendation]," says Dr. Nathaniel Watson, president elect of AASM, co-director of the University of Washington Sleep Medicine Clinic, and member of the consensus panel. "This was an evidence-based process where we really scoured the medical literature to really assess the best evidence out there." The report was just published in the journal SLEEP by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the Sleep Research Society.

In an article written in TODAY Health, Dr. Watson touches on what I think is a very important point. This is what he says: "This is the first step in our desire to change the conversation with society about the overall importance of sleep," Watson says. "Sleep is a personal choice, like what a person eats or whether they exercise. People need to start viewing [sleep] that way and make healthy choices."

It is about how we live our lives. Embracing a healthy lifestyle includes many things from how we eat, to how we exercise, to how we choose to spend our free time. And now we see it is also about how we sleep.

"Sleep well to live well. This is not a matter of opinion. There is strong science behind it," says Dr. M. Safwan Badr, past president of AASM, chief of the division of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, and member of the consensus panel.

One more compelling study to make me committed to working on improving all parts of my lifestyle, making it as healthy as possible. Only two more hours to go for my ideal sleep!

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