A third of US adults report that they usually get less than the recommended amount of sleep. Not getting enough sleep is linked with many chronic diseases and conditions—such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression—that threaten our nation’s health. Not getting enough sleep can lead to motor vehicle crashes and mistakes at work, which cause a lot of injury and disability each year. Getting enough sleep is not a luxury—it is something people need for good health. Sleep disorders can also increase a person’s risk of health problems. However, these disorders can be diagnosed and treated, bringing relief to those who suffer from them.
Sleep and Chronic Disease
As chronic diseases have assumed an increasingly common role in premature death and illness, interest in the role of sleep health in the development and management of chronic diseases has grown. Notably, insufficient sleep has been linked to the development and management of a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression.
Research has found that insufficient sleep is linked to an increased risk for the development of type 2 diabetes. Specifically, sleep duration and quality have emerged as predictors of levels of Hemoglobin A1c, an important marker of blood sugar control. Recent research suggests that optimizing sleep duration and quality may be important means of improving blood sugar control in persons with type 2 diabetes.1
Tips for Better Sleep
Good sleep habits (sometimes referred to as “sleep hygiene”) can help you get a good night’s sleep.
Some habits that can improve your sleep health:
- Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature
- Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smart phones, from the bedroom
- Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime
- Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.