If you are like most people,
the answer is probably "no". Add care
giving to the equation, and the ability and time to get
enough sleep fades quickly. Most of us use weekends to
catch up on sleep just a little. But if you require extra
sleep each weekend or are tired during the day, you are probably
not getting enough sleep during the night.
Everyone's sleep requirements
vary between 6-8 hours for an average healthy adult. Most
people need around 8 hours but get substantially less than that
Sleep deprivation takes its
toll in many ways. You're more likely to lose your sense of
humor and control of your emotions, be depressed and get sick.
It can also be deadly. Driving while drowsy is responsible for
more than 70,000 accidents a year, according to the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Sleep experts say Americans
have not been adequately educated on the importance of healthy
sleep. As a result, few Americans make sleep a priority. William
Dement, M.D., founder and director of the Stanford University
Sleep Disorders Center and author of the book The Promise of
Sleep, considers the lack of awareness about sleep deprivation
to be a national emergency: "The consequences of a
sleep-deprived society include lost lives, lost income,
disability, reduced productivity, accidents and decreased
quality of family and social life." He adds that sleep
actually has more influence on longevity than diet, exercise and
Are you sleep deprived?
"If you are falling asleep
at times when you don't plan to, that's a sign you're not
getting enough sleep," says Thomas Roth, director of the
Sleep Disorders and Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital in
Detroit, Mich. Signs you're sleep deprived include: