One in three Americans does not get enough sleep, leading to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, mental illness and other chronic conditions, health officials have warned.
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than one-third of the adults reported sleeping less than seven hours in a 24-hour period.
They analysed data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to determine whether adults are getting enough sleep.
The survey respondents included 444,306 people in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Research has shown lack of sleep is associated greater risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, mental illness and other chronic conditions. The CDC has even called inadequate sleep a public health problem.
“People just aren’t putting sleep on the top of their priority list,” said study author Anne Wheaton, PhD, an epidemiologist at the CDC.
“They know they should eat right, get exercise, quit smoking, but sleep just isn’t at the top of their board. And maybe they aren’t aware of the impact sleep can have on your health. It doesn’t just make you sleepy, but it can also affect your health and safety,” she was quoted as saying by CNN.
The study results suggest the need for public awareness and education about sleep health and workplace policies that ensure healthy amounts of sleep for shift workers, according to the study.
This study was the first to look at sleep hours on a state level, said Wheaton, which allowed them to map which states got more sleep than others.
States in the Southeast and along the Appalachian Mountains reported the least amount of sleep, according to the study. The state with the lowest reported amount of sleep was Hawaii, and the states with the highest reported amount of sleep were South Dakota, Colorado and Minnesota.
For the past decade, about one-third of adults have consistently reported not getting enough sleep, Wheaton said.
She emphasised the importance of establishing good sleep habits, such as going to bed and waking up at the same time each morning; having a good sleep environment, where the bedroom is dark and at a good temperature; removing electronics from your bedroom; avoiding big meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bed; and exercising regularly.
If one was following these guidelines and still having sleep issues, Wheaton suggests speaking with a physician to see if there is something else that needs to be done.