Many of us just aren’t getting enough good hours of sleep.
And, poor sleep makes for bad days and beyond.
With schedule changes on the horizon as school starts up, make sure you’re not just counting sheep, but also counting your hours of sleep.
Adults need seven or more hours of sleep for good health and well-being and kids need even more, according to health experts.
Get Connecticut local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Connecticut newsletters.
The Centers for Disease Control And Prevention says not getting enough is linked to many chronic conditions, such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and depression.
A third of U.S. adults report they usually get less sleep than they should, according to the CDC.
That’s on par with the latest data collected for Connecticut from the CDC’s “PLACES” initiative.
On average about 34% of adults in our state report getting insufficient sleep.
That’s less than seven hours during a 24-hour period.
Percentage Reporting Not Getting Enough Sleep by County (Source: CDC PLACES):
- New Haven 36.8%
- New London 36.9%
- Fairfield 32.4%
- Litchfield 31.6%
- Middlesex 31.8%
- Windham 36.7%
- Hartford 34.5%
- Tolland 31.4%
New London and New Haven Counties top that snooze-less list.
While Tolland County residents are finding a way to catch more Zs, but not by much.
Sleep not surprisingly gets worse as you near New York.
“I would say a lot of the Northeast is, you know, pretty stressed to the pace of life and such,” said Dr. Toshita Kumar, the medical director of the Sleep Center at Bristol Hospital.
As we switch gears from summer to school, she says routine is everything, specifically waking up at the same time every day.
Something you can start getting into a rhythm with now.
“Maybe move their bedtime and the wakeup time by about 15 minutes every day, so in about four days, you would be one hour prior, right?” Dr. Kumar said.
Sleep impacts the attention learning behavior of students.
Dr. Kumar says preschoolers need 10 to 13 hours of sleep per night.
Six to 13-year-olds need nine to 11 hours and teens need 8 to 10 hours.
“Sleep is important for everybody, but it's almost doubly important for kids just because of their neurodevelopment, their brain development,” said Dr. Kumar.
So she stresses parents need to set a good example. Turn off devices an hour or so before bedtime, and discuss the importance of sleep habits with your children.
If you’re struggling to fall asleep, she says try this trick:
“Set aside some worry time, and we say that that should be as far away from bedtime as possible. So sometimes around five or 6 p.m., I will sit down, I will write down what's stressing me out, what are the things I have to plan for the next day,” she said.
And if you or your child are having a hard time sleeping or dealing with stress, talk to your medical provider.
Sleep and your mood are so intertwined and there’s help out there.
Dr. Kumar wanted NBC Connecticut to mention melatonin too.
She says it’s great when used appropriately, but she urges folks to talk to their doctor about dosage and keep it out of reach of children.
She says the gummies can look like candy and have led to overdoses lately.