Many NJ Residents are Chronically Sleep Deprived
Did you get enough sleep last night?
Turns out for most New Jerseyans, the answer is no. And there are consequence for not getting sufficient rest.
According to Dr. Callum Dupre of the Capital Health Center for Sleep Medicine, there are no specific statistics on how many people in New Jersey don’t get enough sleep, but “the numbers are off the charts: We’re talking approximately half of the general population.”
Dr. Jonathan Kass, director of the Cooper University Hospital Sleep Disorder Center, agrees most people are falling short.
“The average person needs at least eight hours, and they probably get six to seven hours,” he said.
Kass says a small number of people need four to six hours, while a very small number of people must get 10 to 12 hours of sleep.
So how do you know what’s best for you?
“You can tell how much sleep you need by how you feel when you get up in the morning, whether you feel rested and ready to go,” he said.
“In addition to that, in the middle of the afternoon, you should be able to function in a relatively boring situation without falling asleep.”
Kass says getting enough sleep is like putting gasoline in your car.
“If you don’t fill up the tank enough, it runs out of gas sooner. If you don’t fill up your sleep tank, you run out of energy sooner in the afternoon,” he said.
“If you have a sleep debt, you may be able to function well for a while on adrenaline, but usually your alertness, your concentration goes down and your memory is even impaired.”
Dupre says sleep plays a wide range of roles in our lives, and if you don’t get enough of it, your overall health will be negatively impacted.
“When you vaccinate somebody you can actually tell how immune they are, and people who are sleep deprived have actually been shown to not mount the same immune responses as their non-sleep-deprived compatriots,” he said.
“So if you vaccinate someone who is significantly sleep deprived, their level of immune response is significantly less than someone who is not sleep deprived.”
Kass says developing healthy sleep hygiene is very important, which means you don’t want to drink too much coffee.
“If you do, this may prevent you from going to sleep or it may wake you up in the middle of the night, and not everybody knows decaf coffee is not no-caf. It does have caffeine in it.”
He also pointed out tea, chocolate and many sodas also have caffeine and that can keep you up at night.
He says some people need wind-down time before they go to sleep, which means no exposure to electronic devices or television, and the sleeping environment should be comfortable, dark and not noisy.