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Not Only Are We Sleeping Less, But Worse Shows New Study

A new study reveals that Americans are not getting quality sleep, even when they get the required amount of nightly shut-eye. Poor sleep quality affects daytime productivity just as much as not getting enough.

Most people know adults require about eight hours of sleep, each night, to function well during the day. Proper rest improves moods and the ability to focus. Kids who don't get enough sleep often end up with an ADHD diagnosis, and any mom of a newborn knows that a less-than-optimal sleep can make one feel downright crazy. As it turns out, the number of hours spent snoozing is not the only thing that matters. Trouble falling and staying asleep causes similar daytime issues, and this is becoming a problem in an increasing number of people.

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A new study, published by Sleep Health, found that more and more people struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. This is not great news, because less than ideal sleep duration combined with poor sleep quality can lead to sickness and increase the risk for cardiovascular disease. Moreover, poor sleep has an overall negative effect on a person's wellbeing.

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The results were drawn from survey responses over a five year period. 1.43% of more people reported having trouble falling asleep at least one night per week, and 2.7% of more people reported having trouble staying asleep at least one night per week. These increases were small, but notable across the board.

Researchers point to smartphone usage as one possible culprit. Prior studies have found that viewing electronic devices before bedtime, makes it harder to fall asleep. The blue light emitted from the screens suppresses melatonin production. Notifications can disturb people's slumber when the phone stays in the bedroom at night, as well.

The study did not confirm the exact cause of lowered sleep quality, but smartphones, or stress from overloaded schedules, can both potentially affect how well-rested a person is in the morning.

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