What can parents do if they don’t feel they have enough time for sleep?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 9,841
    National Research Center for Women and Families president Dr. Diana Zuckerman highlights the importance of getting enough sleep.

    Host: What can parents do if they don't feel they have enough time for sleep?

    Dr. Diana Zuckerman: One of the things, it's happened because of computers and videos and 24x7 hours at the stores and TV is that people are getting less sleep than ever before. I think on average people are getting one or two hours of sleep less now than they were just 10-20 years ago and we think we are getting so much accomplished but actually we are not and the research is quite clear on this that your productivity is just going to go down. So, you maybe staying up late at night, responding to emails for example, or writing something that needs to be done or trying to make a repair in your home or going to a store to do your food shopping but if you were really noticing what you are doing, you might find that going food shopping when you are tired takes twice as long as going food shopping when you are not tired. So, it's very important for people to get enough sleep and even though it seems like sleep is a waste of time and it might feel like; oh I can live on six hours of sleep and I am really okay, the truth is you are really not and if you don't get enough sleep, three things are going to happen that aren't so good.

    One is you are going to be less patient with other people whether its people at work or your children or your spouse. You are going to be less productive. Everything you do is going to take more time or not be as good as it would be and a third thing is that people who don't get enough sleep tend to gain weight and that might be something that a lot of women particularly are very interested to hear that it isn't just that you are eating more and therefore you are gaining weight but part of it is that you are eating more because you are deprived of sleep and that's making you do other things like eat, to make up for that deprivation. So, it's often unconscious but there is clear research that when people get enough sleep, they are less likely be overeat and become obese and that might be partly why so many people are overweight now is because we are getting one or two hours less sleep.

    So, people really need, adults really need about eight or even nine hours of sleep at night. Hardly anybody, I know is getting that but six hours of sleep is really not enough and it's particularly not enough, if you are driving or using machinery or anything where even a split second of losing concentration can be dangerous. So, six hours is really very bad even, if it feels okay. Seven hours isn't too good either. You really should be aiming more for eight hours of sleep or even more if you can.