Lack of sleep is life threatening, study finds

Do you feel tired throughout the day? We've got you covered.

If you’re not sleeping for seven to 10 hours each night, you’re facing serious health issues.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, you’re not alone; nearly one-third of Americans get fewer than seven hours of sleep each night. World Sleep Day statistics even say that up to 45 percent of the world’s population faces health risks from sleep deprivation.

Recent studies show risks from sleep deprivation include high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, weight gain, mood swings, depression, a higher risk of diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease and dementia.

These risks aren’t new. In 2007, researchers found that those who received just five fewer hours of sleep each night were almost twice as likely to die from all causes.

If you operate a vehicle, the risks are even higher. Studies show that less than four hours of sleep a day is equivalent to driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.1 -- over the legal limit.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that at least 100,000 accidents each year are the result of sleep deprivation.

Lack of sleep is not good for your brain, either. Research shows prolonged periods without sleep kills brain cells and creates a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

So we found some tips for you to get a better night’s rest.

Sleep experts say you should keep your bedroom between 60 degrees and 67 degrees.

Sleeping with a soft, repetitive sound—like a ceiling fan—will allow your brain to concentrate and limit waking up during the night.

Additionally, you should avoid watching TV or working in your bedroom. You don’t want your brain to think the room is for activities other than sleeping.

You should also establish a bedtime routine that you can follow each night. Taking a warm bath, reading a book or even doing light stretches can let your body know that it’s time for bed.

Avoiding stimulants like nicotine or coffee about eight hours before you go to bed.

Experts also say as little as 10 minutes a day of walking, biking or any other aerobic exercise can help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

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