May was established as Better Sleep Month in 1985. In the decades since, study after study has confirmed the importance good sleep plays in good health and feeling good each day. When you think of self-care, getting enough quality sleep is just as important—if not more important—than good nutrition and exercise. In honor of this special month, here are some eye-opening stats about sleep:
- Roughly 20% of Americans have a sleep disorder—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls insufficient sleep a public heath epidemic.
- About 87% of high school students in the U.S. are chronically sleep deprived, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
- Nearly 40% of people unintentionally fell asleep during the day at least once in the preceding month, an American Sleep Association study found.
- An estimated 100,000 deaths occur each year in U.S. hospitals due to medical errors, reports the National Academy of Medicine. Sleep deprivation has been shown to be a contributing factor.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes; 44,000 injuries; and 800 deaths in 2013.
- The American Psychology Association says sleeping 60 to 90 minutes more each night can improve happiness and health.
- Insufficient sleep has been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.
What should you do about this? Prioritize sleep in your life. If you suspect a problem, consult your primary doctor — or make an appointment with a doctor that specializes in sleep disorders. Don’t drive when you’re tired.
This month is a good time to think about what you are sleeping on. Part of getting a good night’s sleep includes thinking of your mattress as essential equipment that contributes to good sleep. Learn more about mattress shopping on the Better Sleep Council’s website, and before you purchase a new mattress, check to be sure it contains foam that is CertiPUR-US certified!
Certified foam is made without formaldehyde; ozone depleters; PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (“tris”) flame retardants; mercury, lead and other heavy metals; or phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. It also has low VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions for indoor air quality. Knowing your foam is certified is an added measure of comfort to ensure the best night’s sleep possible!
Prioritizing sleep sounds like a big change, but try it for the rest of this month and see how you feel.