According to a study in the Sleep Science journal: “Insufficient sleep syndrome (ISS), also referred to as ‘chronic insufficient sleep,’ ‘voluntary sleep curtailment,’ ‘sleep reduction,’ ‘sleep restriction,’ ‘inadequate sleep,’ or ‘sleep deprivation’ was first recognized as a clinical syndrome in 1979 with its inclusion in the Diagnostic Classification of Sleep and Arousal Disorders”
Sleep loss can be due to insomnia, when you are not able to fall asleep even though you want to, or sleep deprivation, where your responsibilities and life don’t give you a chance to have a proper night’s sleep. Sleep loss is an epidemic that we are currently dealing with, and it doesn’t help that climate change is also affecting our ability to snooze.
According to researchers, teenagers in particular are experiencing a “Great Sleep Recession.” Over time, a smaller percentage of American teenagers are getting enough sleep. Adults aren’t getting enough sleep either. According to Gallup’s State of Sleep in America 2022 Report, humans require at least 7 hours of sleep per night, and yet only 35% of Americans get that.
Why it’s bad
Not getting enough sleep puts as at heightened risk of an array of diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even early death. It can also lead to a great deal of emotional pain, including loneliness and anxiety. Additionally, those with low incomes and members of racial minorities sleep less than others, making this a problem for equity as well as health.
While there are many things that one can individually do to combat lack of sleep, which seems to also exacerbate anxiety (the most common mental health issues worldwide), it also may be a systematic issue that will need some governmental intervention. Some of these issues may also be societal, where sleep is associated with laziness, when in fact it is necessary for the healthy functioning of society.
The state of California is taking some steps to deal with an aspect of this issue by issuing a new law that delays the school start time making it so teenagers can sleep more. Because teenagers need more sleep than adults, and seeing as they are the future of our species, it may behoove other states to follow the lead of California and take some action towards allowing more room for rest and sleep.
Image link: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/sep/14/finally-a-cure-for-insomnia