Many Americans suffering from lack of sleep, BSC says
David Perry -- Furniture Today, May 9, 2013
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Nearly half of Americans say they aren't getting enough sleep. And the problem is worse for women than men, according to a new consumer study conducted for the Better Sleep Council.
The bedding industry's education arm is releasing key findings of the survey in May, which is Better Sleep Month. That's when the industry aims to focus consumers' attention on strategies they can use to improve their sleep.
One of those key strategies is to get a new sleep set, the BSC says. While that may sound like an obvious point, it is one that many consumers don't fully appreciate, BSC officials say. In the latest research, for example, more consumers said a comfortable pillow helps them get a good night's sleep than those who singled out a comfortable mattress.
The BSC research found that 52% of adults surveyed said they feel that, on average, they are getting enough sleep. But that left 48% of the adults saying they aren't getting enough sleep.
A total of 53% of the women surveyed said they are not getting enough sleep, compared with 44% of the men.
BSC officials said the majority of the 157 million Americans who aren't getting enough sleep aren't taking simple daily precautions to get better sleep - even though they know simple actions can lead to more restful nights.
The Centers for Disease Control recently confirmed that insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic, a development that spurred BSC officials to recommend steps that consumers can take to avoid what they call a "Sleepocalypse."
"Simple things like turning off cell phones, not eating in bed and sleeping on a comfortable mattress rank highest on the list of missed opportunities," said Karin Mahoney, director of communications for the Better Sleep Council. "Part of the problem is that people think they can push through their lack of sleep without negative effects. Men, in particular, are more likely to believe they can train themselves to function normally on less sleep, but studies show that just isn't true."
In support of its "May Is Better Sleep Month" campaign, the Better Sleep Council is prescribing changes to bedtime behaviors and sleep environments to help Americans escape the Sleepocalypse.
Among the recommendations:
• Reduce electronics use in the bedroom, specifically in bed. "We recommend powering off one hour before bed and sticking to hard copies to read in bed with soft lighting," Mahoney said.
• Keep a consistent bedtime and wake up time. "Consistency is important," Mahoney said. "In addition to a morning alarm clock, set a ‘bed time' alarm that reminds you to go to bed and get a full night's rest. Or even better, set an alarm for your nightly wind-down an hour before bedtime."
• Don't let your cell phone be a distraction. "Buy a $5 alarm clock and exercise the ‘power down' feature on your cell phone as part of your bedtime routine," Mahoney said. "If that's not enough, consider keeping your phone in a separate room. At a minimum, keep it out of reach."
• Make sure you have a comfortable, high-quality mattress. "Do the math on how much time you spend with your bed compared to other possessions; at approximately 240 hours per month, a mattress gets more use than most major purchases other than a home," Mahoney said.
"Cheating yourself of sleep can lead to dire consequences over time," she added. "While we believe strongly that the advice we are offering can help lead to more restful, healthful sleep, we encourage people with chronic sleep issues to speak with their doctors and address other potential health conditions."