Long-term effects of being sleep deprived during the COVID-19 pandemic

MUNCIE, Ind. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get at least seven hours of sleep a night to stay healthy. But researchers say more than one-third of American workers were not getting enough sleep in 2018, and now, during the pandemic, those numbers are projected to increase.

As a nation, the number of people who get the prescribed amount of sleep has dropped from 75 percent in 2008 to 64 percent in 2018. Health science researcher Jagdish Khubchandani first analyzed the sleep habits of 150,000 Americans through 2018 and then updated those results earlier this year.

“You’ll find that there are some groups who sleep less than five, four. People with multiple jobs in the lowest socioeconomic strata, people in the oSuth, police officers, doctors, nurses,” explained Jagdish Khubchadani, PhD, a health sciences researcher at Ball State University.

Researchers say only 50 percent of police officers and 55 percent of health care workers reported getting enough sleep. Over time, the effects of sleep deprivation add up.

“And in the long run, you continue to gain weight. You have a risk of heart disease, cancers and stroke because sleep is like a medicine,” illustrated Khubchadani.

Researchers say it’s important to keep the same sleep schedule during the pandemic. Avoid heavy and sugary foods for several hours before bed and cut back on screen time and social media.

Researchers say one other new finding involves women and sleep. The percentage of women reporting too little sleep grew from 31 percent in 2010 to almost 36 percent in 2018 and those numbers are also projected to grow this year due to greater socioeconomic stress and work-life balance issues.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer & Field Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.