Do you get enough sleep? Experts say most people don’t.

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 5:30 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - If you’re feeling unfocused or hungry you might not be getting enough sleep. A study by Apple found just 31% of participants reached the recommended hours of sleep per night. Another study by ResMen revealed eight in 10 adults self-report they get “poor sleep.” In a dark, northern winter, like ours, the problems could be worse.

When you hit the hay, seven to nine hours of sleep is the recommended goal by most sleep experts. For most of us, that number can be elusive.

“Do you think you get enough sleep at night,” Your News Leader asked Bismarck residents.

“No,” said Clare Hochhalter.

“How many hours of sleep do you think you get?” asked Your News Leader.

“Probably six, six and a half,” said Hochhalter.

“I try usually for six or seven but a lot of times there’s interruptions,” said Dean Goetz.

“Eight seems to be adequate,” said Mark Horning.

Poor sleep can have an impact on the rest of your day.

“I’m a musician, so when you get done with a gig at two or three in the morning and then you have to get up at eight or nine the next day you’re crawling a little bit,” said Horning.

“I can be cross, less patient the next day,” said Hochhalter.

“You can get to the point of nodding off, not being as sharp as you should be,” said Goetz.

Experts say consistent sleep problems can lead to serious consequences (like cardiovascular disease or dementia) because sleep is linked to mental and physical well-being and hormones.

“Many hormones actually secrete in connection to the sleep, like growth hormones, thyroid hormones, even the most important would be the hormones for satiety and hunger. Now, they go in reverse, so if your sleep is not good, or the quality is not good, it tends to reverse, so that means it will make you more hungry and you tend to keep eating. And with eating comes obesity and obesity comes sleep apnea and it becomes a vicious circle,” said Dr. Arveity Setty, Sleep Medicine.

Dr. Setty says he sees North Dakotans seeking help from professionals for all types of sleep issues, like having difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or being excessively sleepy. He says North Dakota’s location can also impact sleep.

“We have day and night which goes with awake and sleep state, and this is nature. So, if you just follow the nature when it is dark you sleep and when it is light you be awake, but obviously staying in the northern states we are very far away from the equator, so we get affected more than anyone else,” said Dr. Setty.

He says sleep trackers, like smartwatches, may lack sleep architecture capabilities but can be useful to track changes in sleep habits.

If you’re consistently struggling with sleep, he says, professionals can help.

Dr. Setty says keeping a consistent bedtime routine, limiting caffeine, screen time and stressors, cutting out alcohol and tobacco, and keeping your bedroom dark and cool can improve sleep.

When we asked him about dreams, he said there’s no clear reason just yet on why we dream but, contrary to common belief, people dream in every stage of sleep.