According to a new report from the National Sleep Foundation, young adults aged 18 to 29 say they sleep an average of 6 hours a night during the working week in comparison to the recommended eight hours. Almost half of the 1,154 people polled said they postpone sleep in order to accomplish more. Work and school habits are often linked to sleep habits; those who worked more than 60 hours a week had trouble finding time to sleep. Lack of sleep has serious consequences including drowsiness, poor work and school performances, accidents, mood changes and interpersonal difficulties. Each day there are two periods when the body experiences a natural tendency toward sleepiness: during the late night hours (generally between midnight and 6:00am. And during mid afternoon (around 1:00 to 4:00 pm). If people are awake during these times, they have a higher risk of falling asleep unintentionally, especially if they have not been getting enough sleep. Certain medical conditions, such as asthma and pain, some drugs and stimulants, such as nicotine and caffeine, can disrupt sleep. And while some people may use alcohol to help them fall asleep, it actually causes sleep disruption during the night, which can lead to problematic sleepiness during the day.

How can you get eight hours?

Go to bed fifteen minutes earlier each night until you reach your goal, or try to take a nap during the day. (Well if you can, I don’t think my boss would like me taking a catnap at lunchtime). Avoid stimulants, exercise and alcohol within four to six hours of bedtime. In general, medications do not help problem sleeplessness and some may make it worse. If sleep difficulties persist, consult your doctor to rule out medical causes such as sleep disorders, endocrine diseases or depression.